On "The Family Songbook" Tamar Halperin and Andreas Scholl combine the sounds of the Middle East with classic children's songs from the West, harpsichord with country-music sounds and sing-along songs with lullabies. This is a family album for the entire family.
The weather was hot at the end of May in Kiedrich im Rheingau, western Germany. In the home of the Halperin-Scholls a unique and uniquely musical family get-together was taking place. The Israeli pianist and harpsichordist Tamar Halperin and her husband, world-famous counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, invited their respective families to join them in the tranquil village full of half-timbered houses not far from Wiesbaden: aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers and close friends – in all, 15 adults and nine children – came together to make music, celebrate and enjoy time with each other. "The Family Songbook" is the result of this special family reunion.
When Andreas Scholl was introduced to the family of his wife Tamar Halperin in Israel, he was impressed by the sumptuous Shabbat dinners laid on by her aunt Eti. Everyone met up, ate and laughed together, and made music. "Two years ago, after a few glasses of wonderful red wine from the Golan Heights, the idea first came to me of making a recording which would capture the atmosphere and the joy of making music together." An idea was born. The occasion which brought the idea to fruition was the birth of their daughter Alma: "Every evening since the birth of our daughter, Andreas and I have sung songs in German and Hebrew to her," explains Tamar Halperin. "When she was one year old, and our repertoire had grown to an impressive size, I suggested to Andreas that we should record the songs in our home studio."
The Family Songbook is not just the result of a special family get-together, it is also a musical image/reflection of this truly international family. The repertoire embraces Israeli folk songs such as "Buba Zehava", "Pizmon LaYakinton" and "Shir Eress" through the country hit "Sweet Baby James" to children's songs such as "I Bought Me a Cat" and "La Le Lu". The songs that Halperin and Scholl have chosen are for the entire family by the entire family. In addition to the voice of one of the most outstanding countertenors of the last 20 years and his brilliant pianist wife Halperin, the album also features their siblings on guitar and bass, singing cousins, close friends on percussion and a grandmother playing the mandolin. Intimate and hitherto unheard interpretations of two world-famous lullabies round off the album: "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel and Johannes Brahms's "Guten Abend, gut' Nacht".
For Halperin and Scholl, their Family Songbook is something really special. "That week saw the fulfilment of a long-held dream, and I was delighted that all the members of our family embraced the spirit of our project. When we are no longer here, then our children and grandchildren will be able to listen to this recording and we will remain part of their lives through it," concludes Andreas Scholl.