As a musician, I am inspired by the depth and originality of Jewish music. It is nurturing and healing. Many of these melodies originated in Europe, and many others came from Middle East. These melodies were played and sung by the wandering People of the Book, and perhaps were carried by those ancient exiles who were forced to leave the land of Israel. The creators of a rich mystical, philosophical, legal, literary, and musical civilization were treated cruelly. It is beyond my comprehension how it was possible to create this vast sea of knowledge and wisdom while enduring severe oppression and persecution. My piano compositions draw upon Jewish folk and liturgical music. The resulting suites are part of my attempt to understand the Shoah. The photograph on the front cover was taken by Alter Kacyzne in 1929 in Warsaw, Poland. The photograph was entitled Little Boys with Big Ideas. Yeshiva Boys Studying Talmud on their Own . It was published in the West Coast Yiddish Daily Forverts in a photo essay named The Eternal Students . Alter Kacyzne was a well-known editor, publisher, writer, poet, playwright, and photographer in pre-World War II in Warsaw. After the start of the war, Nazi barbarism did not skip Alter Kacyzne. He was murdered in Tarnopol, Galicia, by Nazi collaborators during his attempt to escape from the invading German army. All his manuscripts, photo negatives, and prints in Warsaw were destroyed. The photograph in the front cover survived only because it was sent, along with some of his other photographs, to the Forverts before World War II. The three boys in this photograph were thirteen years old and would have been young adults at the start of World War II. Their fate is unknown. I dedicate the music in this release to all people who are persecuted because of who they are.
"Yearning" is an extraordinary collection of thirty original piano solos based on or inspired by Jewish folk and liturgical melodies. The pieces were composed and performed by Lilia Valitova and are grouped into five suites. Each piece has a descriptive title, most of which deal with everyday events. These suites are part of Valitova's attempt to understand the Shoah (Holocaust). Some of the melodies originated in Europe while others came from the Middle East. Most of the music is dark and melancholy, … more