Soprano Chana Malkin will present her second solo album on Friday, May 7: This is not a lullaby† Along with cellist Maya Friedman and pianist Artem Belogorov, she recorded music telling her what motherhood means to her. Becoming a mother is very intense. Suddenly your life is entirely at someone else’s service.
Shanna Malkin loves personal albums. In 2019, she debuted on CD with Songs of love and exileSephardic Songs Program. The common denominator was a sense of homesickness, something you know well as being of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, with relatives in Israel and the United States. “I know what it feels like to be part of your heart somewhere else,” she said at the time. This music immediately felt familiar. It is written for our souls.
She once again found personal inspiration for her second solo CD. Chana became a mother in 2019. The first months were definitely intense, with many sleepless nights. During one of those nights, after breastfeeding her son, she was unable to sleep on her own. Later that year I was going to give a concert at Grachtenfestival and I thought: Let me start looking for songs. Deep in the night I came across the song “Rocking the cradle” by Mieczyslaw Weinberg. I felt like his music understood me perfectly.
in the course shake baby, of which “Rocking the cradle” is a part, Weinberg definitely doesn’t color motherhood pink. His image is realistic and honest, and it struck a chord with Chana, given the state of mind she was in. Becoming a mother is very intense. As a young woman, you are busy with your own things in life, and then suddenly your life is at someone else’s service. You learn a lot from him. It puts what is important in life into perspective.
If you think about music and motherhood, a perfect picture is quickly drawn. Also in art. Weinberg does not. One song, for example, describes the despair you feel during sleepless nights. It is also about the fear that your child will become distant from you later. I notice for myself that my relationship with death has changed because of motherhood. When you have a child, it suddenly gets really bad when you die: you have someone to be there for.
The Weinberg cycle contains eleven songs by texts of the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, who fought for the rights of women and children. For Channa Malkin, the work became the starting point for the CD project. . added Akhmatova songs by John Tavener and five russian songs From her father, Joseph Malkin.
Joseph Malkin has been a violinist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for over 25 years. Later he also started composing. In 2004 he composed his first songs, based on the poetry of Ida Voss. I debuted almost all of my dad’s vocals, but five russian songs “New to me,” Shana says. “I see it as a transfer of the family’s legacy.”
The five songs highlighted motherhood from a different angle, with poetry by different authors. The series includes two funky lullabies, “To Polinka” and “Lullaby”. This last song is by no means soothing, which you’d expect from a lullaby.
It was special for Shana to work on songs with her father. “It’s nice to be able to perform the music the way the composer wants,” she says. “He is very critical and pays a lot of attention to certain details. Sometimes that was very difficult, but in the end it was very good to be busy with his work.
One of the songs five russian songs On a poem by Anna Akhmatova. It was also inspired by Sir John Tavener. He even baptized his song cycle Akhmatova songs† “Tavener songs have always been on my list,” Chana says. I am a big fan of the poetess. She was also a mother, but she had a complicated relationship with her son. The course fits well alongside Weinberg. Weinberg is more about motherhood, and Tavener is more about finding your own identity.
Channa hopes that together, the three composers’ courses provide an “honest and true” story of motherhood. “It’s kind of a journey, an exploration of what motherhood means to me.”
The album was recorded last December at the Philharmonie in Harlem. Thanks to crowdfunding, it is possible to pay up to four days to register. “It was special to be in a great hall again, to feel the space to compose the music,” says Malkin, who, like most singers, has had a nearly empty agenda for over a year.
Finding a good balance was not an easy task. These are very intimate songs. You want to sit in the room with mommy, so to speak. We’ve been working on it for a while. But I think we managed to get a very sincere and intimate sound with all the nuances and details.
For the songs of Weinberg and her father, Channa collaborated with pianist Artem Belogurov, on the Tavener cycle, the sopranos formed a duet with cellist Maya Friedman. Chana felt a click with both. “Together we got into a certain sonic world,” she says. ‘At the Grachten Festival it was once noted that I sing as Maya plays and that she plays as I sing. When Maya plays an intro, I immediately know how to sing the song.
album This is not a lullaby Published by TRPTK, a subsidiary of Maya Partner, an audiophile who specializes in creating “immersive sound”, feeling right in the middle of it. It will be released on May 7. “We were supposed to give an intro party, but that just can’t go on,” Chana says. “Instead, we’re hosting a virtual launch party through my artist’s Facebook page.”
The launch event includes a question-and-answer performance and a Tavener course performance and begins at 7 p.m. For more information, see Channa Malkin’s personal website.