Shaham’s Nigunim


  • Hebrew Melodies

The Hebrew word “Nigun” means melody. And Nigunim is simply the plural.

While Gil Shaham was born in the US, his family is from Israel, and undoubtedly he may have heard some Hebrew/Jewish songs and melodies as a youngster. These things stay with you forever.

Gil and Orli Shaham are brother and sister, and their new CD called ‘Nigunim’ is a wonderful recording of Hebrew melodies. This music, more often than not, vividly evokes troubled origins, the music providing an escape of sorts and the violin the perfect voice which transcends the world from which they sprang.

“One very powerful aspect of this music is its soulfulness”, Orli Shaham says; “Regardless of your background, I don’t think you can listen to it without feeling that connection”.

The selections are:

Achron, J:

  • Hebrew Melody, Op. 33

version for violin and piano

  • Hebrew Pieces (2), Op. 35

arr. for violin and piano

Bloch, E:

  • Baal Shem

version for violin and piano


  • Danse Hebraique


  • Violin Sonata No. 3 ‘Nigunim’

Williams, John:

  • Schindler’s List: Jewish Town

arr. for violin and piano

  • Schindler’s List – theme

arr. for violin and piano

  • Schindler’s List: Remembrances

arr. for violin and piano


  • Eli Zion – paraphrase on a folk theme and trop of ‘Song of Songs’

trans. Joseph Achron)

Performed by Gil Shaham (violin) and Orli Shaham (piano)

This release includes compositions by Ernest Bloch, Joseph Achron and Leo Zeitlin. They all started their musical lives as child prodigy violinists, as their idiomatic writing for the violin might suggest.

The centerpiece of the disc comes from the work sharing the album’s title ‘Nigunim’. Commissioned by Gil and Orli from Israeli composer Avner Dorman, it shares the universal appeal of the wordless melodies on which it was named.

Here are Orli and Gil Shaham in Ernest Bloch’s Nigun: (wait a few seconds for the video to begin)



And next here is Josef Bonime’s ‘Danse hebraïque’, as performed by by Gil and Orli Shaham:


Now, as a change of pace, here is Mozart’s Sonata in G major, K.301 (293a) – I. Allegro con spirit, as performed by Gil and Orli Shaham:


Tags: Gil Shaham, Orli Shaham, Nigunim

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