The Art of Storytelling – Lubin, from Chelm

Music from Wyastone – Studio Concert Series

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David Yang  Lubin, from Chelm


English Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Kenneth Woods
Narrator: Henry Goodman
Illustrator: Alisa Snyder

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About this Concert

A hilarious re-telling of the traditional English folk tale, Lazy Jack, relocated to the Ukrainian shtetl and brought to life with abundantly witty Yiddish turns of phrase and evocative Klezmer musical stylings by Jewish-American composer David “Yankele” Yang and orchestrated by Kenneth Woods, with narration by Olivier award-winning Henry Goodman.

ESO’s ‘Art of Storytelling’ project presents world premiere recordings and broadcasts of five exceptional works for narrator and orchestra. From the cheeky humour of the Brothers’ Grimm to the touching tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, and from the Jewish humour of Lubin from Chelm to the ancient Egyptian tale of The Warrior Violinist, this is classic family entertainment for the modern age at its finest, a powerful synthesis of great literature and great music.

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About the Narrator - Henry Goodman

Henry Goodman, aka “Henek Ben Avram, “(born 23 April 1950) is a RADA trained English theatre actor.He attended the Central Foundation Boys’ School.In 2010 he played the role of Sir Humphrey Appleby in the stage version of Yes, Prime Minister at the Chichester Festival Gielgud Theatre, in London’s West End from 17 September 2010.He portrayed a HYDRA doctor in the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, though his name was uncredited in the end credits. He played the character again, now named Dr. List, on the second season of the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.His Awards include Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical playing Charles Guiteau in Assassins at the Donmar Warehouse directed by Sam Mendes in 1993), Olivier Award for Best Actor for Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at the National Theatre directed by Trevor Nunn in 2000. He has also been nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Chicago), London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor (The Merchant of Venice), Theatre Awards UK for Best Performance in a Play (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui).In 2015 he played the title role in Ben Jonson’s Jacobean comedy Volpone at the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Trevor Nunn co-starring Matthew Kelly and Miles Richardson. His last RSC appearance was in 2003 as Richard III.Goodman is also a respected radio actor, most notably as Leopold Bloom in BBC Radio 4’s all-day adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses for ‘Bloomsday’ in 2012. He has also played author and chemist Primo Levi and a large number of other, often Jewish, characters on Radio 4.In his autobiography, Antony Sher says Goodman’s Shylock is ‘quite simply the best’. He reprised his role for a television film which was released in 2004.


Unholy offspring of a Chinese landscape photographer and Jewish yenta from Brooklyn, violist and composer David Yang, aka David Yankele,  has collaborated with members of the Audubon, Borromeo, Brentano, Lark, and Tokyo String Quartets, amongst others. David was raised in New York City and is currently Artistic Director of the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival.

An active advocate of new music, he is also leader of the Philadelphia-based children’s music troupe Auricolae (

About the Arranger - Kenneth Woods

Kenneth Woods (Kalman Valdberg) is an American conductor, composer, cellist, writer and guitarist, now resident in the United Kingdom. He is Artistic Director of the English Symphony Orchestra, Colorado MahlerFest and The Elgar Festival. Credits as an arranger/orchestrator include an orchestral version of Brahms’ Piano Quartet in A Major, recorded by the ESO and hailed as one of the Ten Best Classical CDs by The Arts Desk in London. Other arrangements include chamber versions of works by Mahler, Schubert, and Wagner, and orchestra versions of quartets by Tchaikovsky, Bloch, and Ullmann. Post. Recent ESO recordings under Woods’ baton include the Third Symphony of Philip Sawyers (Gramophone Magazine Critics’ Choice “Best of 2017”), and the first complete recording of the piano concertos of Ernst Krenek in two volumes (Best Recordings of 2016 – The Sunday Times, Best Recordings of 2017 – Forbes Magazine). He also records with the Royal Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Northern Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Swan, with whom he won the coveted Diapason d’or for their premiere recording of the complete symphonies of Hans Gál.

About the Illustrator - Alisa Snyder

Alisa Snyder was born in Providence, Rhode Island but she has lived most of her life in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Landscape and still life are the primary subjects of her painting, and central to her work is an emotional response to nature. Her love of music has always been a part of her life and practice as a visual artist, and illustrating David Yang’s score and story was a special pleasure.

About Musical Storytelling: Zoë Beyers in conversation with David Yang and Kenneth Woods

ESO Leader Zoë Beyers talks to Kenneth Woods and David Yang about the evolution of the Auricolae Music and Storytelling project which gave birth to many of the the storytelling works featured in our series.


The Music Room series is produced by Shropshire Music Trust and supported by Arts Council England.

Production Information

Recorded at Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, on 30th July 2020

Audio & Visual Producer: Tim Burton
Assistant Engineer & Editor: Matthew Swan
Orchestra Manager: Simon Brittlebank / The Music Agency
Stage Manager: Ed Hayes / The Music Agency

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