I was commissioned by the young and wonderful Pianist Benjy Hochman. It was conceived as a short (app. 6') self contained movement that could also be intergrated later as part of a longer piece yet to be written.
It develops out of a very small melodic and rhythmic cell that undergoes multiple phases changing its mood, texture, contour, rhythm and tempo.
From a nervous beginning, restless and inquiet, it becomes more and more energetic until its motoric impetus stops and the whole atmosphere changes and transforms to become static, colorful and melodic.
This mood lasts for a while but not for too long, when once again it changes to become charged with energy, reminiscent of the opening character.
The piece has a zipping quality, changing ideas quite fast, expressing in a way the uncertain and unstable situation so typical of our hyper tensioned life in Israel, our native land.
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.
This song cycle was written in 1998 for Voice, Violin, Oboe or Clarinet, and Piano. It is based on three poems by the late Israeli Poet Ya’ir Hurwitz. I used only three of the 18 short poems, all relating to death. This was his last book and he wrote these songs on his death bed.
The entrapped bird is a metaphor of his soul being imprisoned in his sick body, waiting, in a sense, to be freed. I’ve tried to portray this dark and very painful atmosphere in my music using a chromatic and expressive musical language.
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.
Question and Answer Session with Menachem Wiesenberg, Mimi Wiesenberg, Nicholas Kitchen and David Wallace.
Moderated by Matti Kovler.