In 2003, Tel Aviv's "White City" becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the world's largest, still existing collection of Bauhaus style buildings, constructed mainly by emigrated Jewish Bauhaus architects from Germany.
The young Israeli mandolinist Alon Sariel follows the German tradition in the young city of Tel Aviv during the 1930s, represented here by music of the late Yehezkel Braun (1922-2014), and unites it with a much earlier German culture, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
For this project Alon Sariel uses his exceptional instrument, a mandolin made by 80 year old Tel Aviv luthier Arik Kerman, who has been following Alon's work since childhood.
His duo program with Tel Aviv born Michael Tsalka on the piano does therefore not only become an echo of remembering the deeply rooted love for Bach inside the emigrants, but at the same time builds the bridge into the here and now. Weimar, important Bach city as well as the cradle of Bauhaus, and Tel Aviv are connected here in an extraordinary way and the lasting influence of the Bauhaus until today is artistically newly absorbed by means of a musical idea. Especially in the first years of Bauhaus the close connection to Weimar's Bach history is evident and tangible. Bach's music is the fixed reference point of the musical identity at the famous Bauhaus Feasts. If there ever was an equivalent in the world of sounds for the visions of the Bauhaus artists, then Bach's oeuvre with its Baroque stylistic idiom, its regularity and defined rules came closest to their ideas in those years.
In their last album Sharkiya ("East Wind" in Arabic), released by the Israeli Music Institute (IMI) in 2016, Sariel and Tsalka already presented a handful of brilliant compositions by Yehezkel Braun.
Bach in the White City can be seen as a next step, or parallel existence: Wind From the West - Bauhaus in Tel Aviv.
J.S. Bach – Sonata for Mandolin and Piano, BWV 1031
Yehezkel Braun – Mesembrianthema
J.S. Bach – Solo Partita, BWV 1013
Yehezkel Braun – Four Pieces for Keyboard
J.S. Bach – Concerto in Italian Style
Header photo © Gregor Hohenberg