Country : Canada (Quebec) Label : Leaf Genres and styles : Classical / Contemporary Year : 2023

Jaap Nico Hamburger – Tzimtzum

· by Frédéric Cardin

Originally from the Netherlands, Jaap Nico Hamburger has lived in Canada for over 20 years. Currently based in Montreal, he has just released the album Tzimtzum, comprising eight pieces of chamber music in a variety of formats, from solo piano to full chamber orchestra, including duos, quartets with the addition of flute, voice, cello or harp, and even a choir. Hamburger’s music is in no way experimental, it is tonal and lyrical, but it has sophisticated trappings that place it clearly within the realm of accessible scholarly music, not pop instrumental music. The Montrealer’s extra-musical references range from a painting by Modigliani to the Jewish Kabbalah, from the poetry of Else Lasker-Schuler to a few personal reminiscences. Musically, Hamburger’s modernism draws as much on Brahms and Chopin as on Handel (a feature of the very pretty Concerto antico), and more modern voices like Prokofiev or Scriabine, while handling chromaticism with ease and, above all, dramatic flair. Excellent performances from the musicians present, most of them from the rich Montreal scene (Philip Chiu, Janelle Fung, Ensemble Caprice, Ilya Poletaev, Lara Deutsch, Magali Simard-Galdès, Juan Sebastian Delgado, Yegor Dyachkov, etc.). 

This is old-school modern classical music, performed with great talent and expressive warmth. Hamburger deserves to be heard more often on Quebec stages. Highly recommended!

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