El אל

Bnaya Halperin-Kaddari

2015

noun

  1. A god.
  2. One of the names for the hebrew god.
  3. To, towards.

A journey-pilgrimage through deserted halls, where once the one-god who goes by many names dwelt. Home, minor-temple to a community of believers who worshiped him here. Incantation of esoteric god names reverberating the walls, evoking in their bricks the faintest traces of past joyful invocations. Plosives explode in the dense space, each vowel being given the love, the care, the intention to vibrate and serve as a reminder, not a memorial.

extract – concert: 07.04.2016 Forum neuer Musik – Deutschlandfunk Köln, provided by Deutschlandfunk

 

 

 

Galut ve‘Shiva גלות ושיבה

Amit Gilutz
2015

O Mensch! who, me? in the era of man-made climate change scarcity of resources is fueling wars in the colonies Gib Acht! No, I cannot – I will not – help. imperial corporations flood them with weapons promoting the interests of Was spricht die tiefe Mitternacht? I am a poet, you see? When I have stress I do yoga. when the brown people flee and are at your door —don’t open Die Welt ist tief, I write poetry about human suffering. they will kill you in your sleep they will eat your food they will Tief ist ihr Weh—, I make songs from your blood and tears. rape your wife they will enslave your children they will do to you Weh spricht: Vergeh! then, I make people dance to these songs and laugh. what you did to them

 

extract concert: 07.04.2016 Forum neuer Musik – Deutschlandfunk Köln, provided by Deutschlandfunk

 

 

 

Kaddisch קדיש

Eres Holz

Kaddisch nach Allen Ginsberg

2015

The Kaddish קדיש (Aramaic ‘holy’ or ‘sanctification‘) is one of the most important prayers in Judaism. Essentially it consists of a doxology of God. Althought though time associations with death and grief developed, these terms do not appear in the prayer. The most important thoughts of the Kaddish prayer are also in the Lord’s Prayer that is ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth by tradition.

Allan Ginsberg’s long poem of the same title, of which I took fragments for my composition, mourns the death of the author’s mother, Naomi, but also the lost of his religion. The traditional Kaddish doesn’t refer to death, whereas Ginsberg’s poem explicitly deals with thoughts of death.

I intended to address the tension between believe and doubt. In my view, Ginsberg’s poem negotiates the maze of identity: the quest for the sense of life from an individual’s perspective, and in a certain way exactly from the point of view of a secular person, who is longing for an all-embracing sense but afflicted with doubts.

The first part of Allen Ginsberg’s “Kaddish” ends like this:

 

„Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless, Father in death. Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, I’m hymnless, I’m Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still adore
Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not light or darkness, Dayless Eternity—
Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, some of my Time, now given to Nothing—to praise Thee—But Death
This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the Wonderer, House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping—page beyond Psalm—Last change of mine and Naomi—to God’s perfect Darkness—Death, stay thy phantoms!“

 

extract – concert: 07.04.2016 Forum neuer Musik – Deutschlandfunk Köln, provided by Deutschlandfunk

 

Resisim רסיסים

Amir Shpilman

2015

Resisim is an ancient hebrew word describing in the bible the “night traces” (tiny drops of water that form on cool surfaces at night, when atmospheric vapour condenses.) In modern Hebrew Resisim means debris, scattered pieces of remains or loose natural broken pieces. But it can also be used as a synonym to refer to tiny unites such as to describe fragments of thoughts or ideas.

Often “Tal” (Hebrew for Night traces/ dew) symbolizes refreshing source of life, wealth and good blessing. Unlike rain which sometimes stops, “Tal” is continuos and regular. It will always occur every morning even during years of drought.

In the military jargon the word Resisim means shatters and harmful ricochet.

The piece let observe shatters/ traces as musical objects in various dimensions. It intertwine music notation of chronological, metrical and morphological time families. The notation is purposefully both very precise and detail oriented and vague at the same time. Like the tradition of synagogue cantors, the performer of “Resisim” is required to be on the guard for expression of individual intuition and precise time perception as a group.

In correspondence with the idea of “Orte/Mekomot” project performing in places that are still here and yet not anymore. “Resisim” emphasize the “grey area”, “a space between”, a place of doubt. The idea of doubt as a mean for progress and prosperity as mentioned in Yehuda Amichai’s poem the place where we are right; “But doubts and loves Dig up the world”.

With layering of gestural notions and thematic interjections, the form of the piece informed by three juxtaposing compositional ideas; “synagogue modal clouds”, semantics of shatters in variety of time dimensions and process of vanishing. The piece introduces shadows, echoes and fragments under magnifying glass it attempts to let observe an unheard whisper of a place and move it from the background to the foreground. It shows old and new side by side, horror and memory but also hope, beauty and future.

 

The Place Where We Are Right

by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right

Flowers will never grow

In the spring.

The place where we are right

Is hard and trampled

Like a yard.

But doubts and loves

Dig up the world

Like a mole, a plow.

And a whisper will be heard in the place

Where the ruined

House once stood.

 

extract – concert: 02.06.2016 in der Nożyk-Synagoge Warschau (PL), provided by Sarah Nemtsov

Ashrei אשרי

Sarah Nemtsov
2015

Ashrei josh‘vei veitecha – Blessed are they that dwell in thy house

The Ashrei prayer is a doxology, three times a day it should be said (or sung). The main part of the prayer is David’s psalm 145. It has 21 verses, corresponding to the Hebrew alphabet starting with Aleph (A), each following verse with the next letter. Just one letter is missing – Nun (N). Maybe the verse got lost throughout the millenniums?

My composition is based on (and re-inventing) fragments of Jewish liturgical chants and interweaved the instrumental sounds. The electric guitar functions almost as a second singer. The feedback (usually an undesired reaction between the microphone and the speakers) has an important role in it – deliberately caused disturbing sounds as echo, resonance. There are many percussive impulses, and here too, reverbaration is crucial, the resonance in space (which will be different in every space thoughout the concert tour). The shofar is taken on in the style of the oboe and the trumpet, the percussion consists of a self-made drum, metal and membrane, and wine glasses that are integrated as symbolic instruments. A glass wrapped in fabric is scrunched traditionally at Jewish weddings. This is to be evocative of – even in a moment of highest personal happiness – the destruction of the temple. Simultaneously it is the ending of the ceremony, when the wedding guest cheer. Similar to this constellation of joy and grief I try to move between dance and contemplation in my composition. The chasan chants the verses, but falls silents again and again – here the congregation could reply.

pote’ach et jadecha – you open your hand

I grew up in Germany, as a child I’ve seen and been part of the re-creation of a Jewish community. The community was fragmented, heterogeneous: a mix of some survivors, returnees, newly moved – Jews from i.a. Germany, Israel and South America. In the 1990s many new members came from Russia, so-called quota refugees. Despite all differences all of them were united in the wish to let the community and Jewish life bloom again. Today, Berlin is considered a particularly positive example of agile Jewish life in Germany. At the same time these positive developments cannot deceive about the wound the Shoa left. The loss and void are still present, scars are obvious. It is the task and challenge of Jews living there, as well as for a (European) community of which they are part, to acknowledge and consciously deal with this reality, and simultaneously act for that in a positive way for the future. Ashrei is a prayer full of hope. This hope also includes a responsibility of each and everyone.

extract – concert: 07.04.2016 Forum neuer Musik – Deutschlandfunk Köln, provided by Deutschlandfunk