“Klezmer Suite” for Cl., Vla, D-B and Piano is the condensed Chamber Music version of my orchestral piece “Encounters IV-Suita Concertante for Classical Violin, Klezmer Violin and Chamber Orchestra”. This shortened version of the orchestral piece lasts app. 12’.
The piece is dedicated to my late father Daniel who was a superb musician and a wonderful Klezmer, playing Violin, Clarinet and Saxophone.
This is another one in a chain of pieces I've already written in the past-including my pieces for the Arabic Oud- which tries to bridge between different musical cultures. In this case it's the ethnic, folk-like klezmer tradition alongside that of the classical concert hall tradition.
The piece is written in one long movement, which flows from one mood to another, trying to reflect different emotional states.
I've used quite a few magnificent klezmer tunes and dances and added some original ones which I've invented.
Writing such a piece for me was a way to connect to the deepest and even primordial layers of my memories as an infant and a child. It deeply reflects my innermost beliefs as a Jewish musician and as a human being.
Commissioned by the “Council for Culture and Art".
This is the original version of my piece, for Vlc & Piano, which was developed later to become my Cello Concerto.
The title is drawn from the wonderful poetic verse, which is part of the prayer for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur):
”Like the clay in the hand of the potter:
Who thickens or thins it at his will,
So are we in Thy hand, gracious God,
Forgive our sin, Thy covenant fulfil."
The special reciprocal relations which develop between the potter and the clay (the creator and the material) give a kind of conceptual frame to my work, in which the soloist assumes the role of the "potter" and the piano is the "clay".
In the course of the short piece (8`) the listener witnesses the progression of relations between the creator and his spiritual creation, from the first moment of it's coming into being; through the struggle to give the formless matter the desired clear and distinct shape. From the state of contention the relations change into one of complete identification of the creator with his material, and this symbiosis frees the constraints of the material. It finds independence within the space and becomes its own master. What remains is an echo - the material gradually disappears, it evaporates leaving the creator drained… until his next composition.
In spite of all these, the piece shouldn't be seen as programme music having a plot or describing anything, but rather represents pure and abstract music, which can stand on its own merits and listen to without all my private poetic connotations.
The work is written in expressive and chromatic language but a tonal center can be discerned (the tone C). It is based on the sound which derives from an ascending row of tones at intervals which grow from a small second to a small six.
Ariel Zukerman 2016, 16'47"
The Double Concerto for Viola and Cello commissioned by the Deutsche Bremen Kammerphilharmonie and The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra for the German Violist Tabea Zimmermann and the Israeli Cellist Hill Zori was written in Memoriam Maestro David Shallon .
The work stresses the expressive and warm sound so typical of these two low string instruments- which have a strong affinity to the human voice.
The concise piece is based on three melodies. The first two are based on a Gregorian chant and a Jewish prayer (taken from the beginning of Amida prayer) for the High Holidays- which are melodically quite close to each other in a fascinating way. The third melody is a secular Israeli "folk song" written in the forties in an attempt to create genuine folk music for the Jews coming back to their home land. The two religious melodies which are quite intense and rhetoric set the mood for most of the piece. This emotionally charged atmosphere is changed later into the more relaxing and pastoral mood of the Israeli song which takes the piece to its end.
The music develops in an uninterrupted flow moving directly from the first movement to the second one by means of a joint cadenza written for the two soloists.
"Homage to Sasha Argov" is a kind of orchestral suite consisting of my arrangements to five of his most celebrated songs, here in a chamber version commissioned by the Israeli Chamber Project.
Choreography: Mimi Ratz-Wiesenberg
Music: Menachem Wiesenberg – A Quintet for Percussion & String Quartet
Stage Designer: Zvi Lachman
Lighting Designer: Felice Ross
Dancer: Anna Weissman