Fanfare Magazine (New Jersey, U.S.A.)

Classical Music Reviews & Magazine
"the magazine for serious record collectors"

May-June issue 2008

Waltraud Rennebaum & Ensemble Shoshan
MA'ALOT – The Songs of Ascents

"The songs of ascent" are the 15 psalms (120-34) traditionally sung by Hebrew pilgrims on the way up to Jerusalem. Waltraud Rennebaum sings these psalms in Hebrew and concludes with Psalm 139, a prayer of similar style. Most of the psalms are her own compositions, vitalized by melody, timbre, and rhythm, but four other composers are credited with a single psalm apiece. The ensemble includes several supporting singers and instrumentalists, but her basic accompaniment is piano and flute. The sonic effect is that of a cabaret singer with her backup group, very entertaining in a jaunty way, and the fadeout at the end of the third track is part of the style. The vocal and instrumental qualities of the group indicate that they are well trained and skillful. They perform with utter conviction, but this mood is a far cry from the pilgrims going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts. That is probably irrelevant, but it is precisely the orientation of this group of psalms.
You will know if this is for you!

J. F. Weber

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