There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Evoking the same aura of solemn beauty that pervades the halls of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Darkness & Light is an outstanding collection of music performed there as part of the Chamber Music Series, now in its third season. Music Director Steven Honigberg decided to record pieces performed for the series in hopes that music by little-known composers will become absorbed into the canon. “One of my goals is to bring to light these composers who were in some way affected by the Holocaust,” Honigberg says. “We want to concentrate on some of the neglected works.” A featured cellist as well as series director, Honigberg has a hands-on approach; his enthusiasm infuses the disc with a sense of purpose. His mother Carol, a pianist, gives a particularly moving performance of Paul Ben-Haim’s 1946 “Sonatina for Piano, Op. 38,” and German-born D.C. composer Herman Berlinski’s 1948 work “From the World of My Father” is given a moody, evocative reading by the mother/son team. But Honigberg stresses that the series is not depressing. “Some of this music on this disc you hear is upbeat, it’s wonderful, it’s lively. It’s not a sorrowful mood at the museum when one comes to a concert but more of a revelatory experience.” The typically stuffy Grammy jurors must have thought so too, as Darkness and Light was just nominated for the Best New Chamber Music Recording award. The CD is available from Albany Records U.S., P.O. Box 5011, Albany, NY 12205-0011. (518) 453-2203.