Pianist Robin Speilberg has recorded an album of Jewish music from the Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Israeli, and American traditions. Most of the songs celebrate Chanukah, and all carry their own history and story (the liner notes feature brief explanatory notes on each). In addition to traditional Chanukah prayers, folk songs, and lullabies, there is a selection from Smetana's "The Moldau," a version of "Rock of Ages," "Sabbath Prayer" from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and even a version of "One" by U2 (which Speilberg believes to have universal spiritual significance).
Spielberg also includes two of her own compositions, "West Bank Serenade" and "First Night," which fit seamlessly into the set. A pianist of refined sensitivity, with a penchant for lush phrasing, Speilberg's music is warm, meditative, and imbued with undercurrents of spirituality and nostalgia (the artist includes songs that were part of her own childhood). AMERICAN CHANUKAH is a fine holiday recording that will sound good year round.