ARC Ensemble: Chamber Works of Alberto Hemsi

October 25, 2022, 9:00 am

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It is indeed ironic that composer Alberto Hemsi, who spent much of his life rescuing music that faced extinction, should have his own brilliantly original works threatened with a similar fate. As part of its mission to research and recover 20th-century music suppressed, or marginalized by repressive regimes, war, and exile, Canada’s ARC Ensemble focuses on this overlooked and prodigious talent, the latest in its acclaimed “Music in Exile” series. The ensemble has uncovered another worthy candidate in the composer and ethnomusicologist, who was born in 1898 in Anatolia, then part of the Ottoman Empire and now Turkey. If Hemsi is known at all today, it is for his Coplas Sephardies, arrangements with piano accompaniments that are based on traditional Sephardic melodies that he collected across the Mediterranean and Middle East.