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John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet at the Earshot Jazz Festival

David Krakauer

Between clarinetist David Krakauer and pianist Uri Caine there is an obvious affinity. Krakauer’s 21st-century klezmer music, as he writes in the program notes for this concert, is “all about a meeting of the generations in a spirit of dialogue between past and present.” Caine, in his notes, tells us of his aim in recent years to “make explicit the connections between Mahler’s music and [k]lezmer music, and then between fin-de-siècle Vienna and world of Eastern European Jewry.” One can also add that both Krakauer and Caine share a fascination with DJ culture, and have woven its future-oriented beats into their Old World music in different ways.

These two important figures joined forces, with mixed results, at Zankel Hall, the beautiful (and beautiful-sounding) new room underneath Carnegie Hall. Following a brief introductory “Street Song” by Krakauer’s Klezmer Madness! ensemble, Caine walked on for the world premiere of his “Ambiguous Identity” suite, which occupied the concert’s first half. The piece sounded like a condensed, hasty version of one of Caine’s magisterial Mahler projects — and it did in fact include some snippets of Mahler material.

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