Vera Nerusilova

Nigun

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AllMusic Review by

On Nigun, Czech-Jewish singer Vera Nerusilová ("the deepest contralto in the Czech Republic" according to the liner notes -- and one is inclined to believe it) is accompanied by the mother and son team of pianist Natalie Shonert and violinist Alexandr Shonert. The repertoire is typical in terms of traditional Jewish songs, and includes such classics as "Tumbalalaika" and "Hava Na Gila." Nerusilová's voice may be deep, precise, and even emotive at times, but it hardly possesses the seductive power of, say, Chava Alberstein. On the contrary, she tends to fall into the clichés of the equivocal female singer. The real attraction in Nigun is Alexandr Shonert's playing: whimsical and playful when it is time to dance, profound and mournful for the romances and complaints. His wide register of emotions and gripping arrangements are what make this CD worthwhile. His cadenza in "Der Rebbe Elimelech" is the perfect example, but that's only one of his personal highlights. Yet, the album doesn't completely satisfy the listener, especially if one has heard a few similar collections of Hebrew songs. Nerusilová pins down the theatrical aspect of the repertoire, but her delivery lacks an extra something, be it involvement or simply the undefinable charm that would make her stand out.

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