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An album by Lilia Valitova

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From MainlyPiano

  • Apr 30, 2010
"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, but several pieces are more lighthearted. All of the music is performed with an elegant touch and provides more than an hour of evocative music that can be savored on many levels. Ms. Valitova has dedicated the album to all people who are persecuted because of who they are.

Ms. Valitova earned her PhD at the Piotr Tchaikovski Conservatory in Moscow, where she also earned her graduate and undergraduate degrees. Her music has been performed in Russia, The United States, The Netherlands, Hungary, and Estonia, and she currently lives in Northern California where she continues to compose and perform. Not surprisingly, Valitova's music is very classical in structure and style, and she imbues each note with deep expression and grace.

The cover artwork for this album has a sobering story. It was taken by Alter Kacyzne in 1919 in Poland and titled "Little boys with big ideas. Yeshiva boys studying Talmud on their own." Kacyzne was murdered by Nazi collaborators during his attempt to escape from the invading German army. All of his manuscripts, photo negatives, and prints in Warsaw were destroyed. The cover photo and a few other photos survived because they had been sent to a Yiddish newspaper before the start of WWII. The three boys were thirteen when the photo was taken and would have been young adults at the beginning of the war. Their fates are unknown. Looking into the expressive eyes of these boys while listening to the music is haunting and poignantly explains the deep emotions of the music.

Lilia Valitova is a consummate artist, and her composing and playing are stunning. "Yearning" is very highly recommended!

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About the reviewer
Kathy Parsons ()
Ranked #62
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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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,...
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Music, Piano, Jewish Music


Label: valitova productions
Artist: Lilia Valitova
Release Date: June 11, 2009

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