Boris Malkovsky

Time Petah-Tiqva

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Boris Malkovsky is an Israeli composer and bayan master. (The bayan is a button accordion.) Time Petah-Tiqva is his debut for Tzadik and appears as a shining example in its Radical Jewish Culture series of recordings. Accompanied by double bassist Ora Boazson and the Israel Contemporary String Quartet, Malkovsky melds modern and postmodern compositional techniques, Gypsy and Israeli folk, and improvisational musics in a deftly written and gorgeously performed score. The work was originally written for the Tel Aviv Chamber Music Ensemble, where it was performed in a shorter form. Here, it is expanded into nine (from six) distinct sections, and the flavor of New York's downtown scene is wedded to sometimes formalist classical notions and tropes -- check the third track, the piece's title theme. The sheer number of shifts and harmonic changes is stunning, while keeping all but 30 seconds of the section accessible to almost any listener. The original second movement of the work, "Danceable Sorrow," which appears as track four here, commences with a moving interlude between strings and double bass as the bayan paints the backdrop for a full minute before entering into a dialogue with its taut melody and strict time adherents, creating an emotionally moving and musically compelling setup for the next formal movement, "Di Beize Meideleh Boogie," where strident tempos, dissonant counterpoint, and real boogie-woogie stride piano lines are converted to string and bayan sprints up and down the minor scale. Ultimately, Time Petah-Tiqva is an almost breathless listen, filled not only with sophistication and imagination, but discipline and a helluva sense of humor to boot.

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