Asher Fisch , 3'49"
Lyrics: taken from Proverbs 6:6
Asher Fisch , 5'30"
Lyrics: Nurit Zarchi
Stanley Sperber 2015
My Cantata-Song of Comfort (1998)- was commissioned by the Zimriya vocal Festival to celebrate Israel's 50 years of Independence. The gala concert was held on the festival's opening night in Jerusalem.
The piece is based on some comfort prophecies taken from the Bible and delivered mainly by Isaiah but also by Micha and Zechariah. I've arranged the text in a certain sequence serving best my musical aims and form demands. The piece has two movements: The first one is a bit more lyrical and introverted, emphasizing the comfort and compassion feelings, promising the upcoming salvation and redemption after the horrible sufferings. The second movement is more cheerful and full of joy as the nation is coming back to its old fathers land, the "end of days" prophecy is being fulfilled and piece prevails not only in the region but worldwide! In order to express the festive event I've chosen Double mixed choirs expressing the public ego, two soloists- a female and a male-expressing the individual ego. In order to strengthen and amplify the sonority, I've added a full Brass section (3, 4, 3, 1) which lands ceremonial splendor and glory to the overall sound. This instrumentation led me to some Renaissance influences both in the musical language itself (using Modality more than in any other pieces of mine) and in the texture, by using antiphonal and responsorial techniques.
Between the Sacred and the Profane for String Quartet has two movements based on rhythmic and melodic materials which draw upon sources of Jewish liturgical music and songs of the various communities of the people of Israel. The first movement is based on a limited number of biblical cantillations combining two versions: the Moroccan-Casablanca version and the Spanish-Jerusalem one. It is a recitative, prayer-like in character and embodies both the prayers of the individual and of the congregation. It is freely constructed and its language is chromatic and expressive. The second movement is based, in the main, on three wedding songs of the Jewish community of Tetuan in Spanish Morocco which is renowed for the beauty and wealth of its songs. The songs were picked out from the anthology "the Cycle of Life", edited by Dr. Shoshana Weich-Shahak. These are Ladino songs influenced by Spanish melos and rhythm yet they retain the taste of biblical cantillations. The work was commissioned by the Israeli Music Heritage Project.
The inspiration for my piece “Mizmor Shir” came from two different though complementary sources: First of all from the sound of my beloved first granddaughter name- Shir which means a song in Hebrew. The second source of inspiration comes from the holy book of Psalms, as many chapters of this book start with this expression –Mizmor Shir which literally means a Hymn song. In many of these chapters the harp is mentioned as one of the main instruments taking place in the performances of these ceremonial songs so I felt only natural to call my harp solo piece Mizmor Shir.
The main rhythmic pattern of the piece comes from the way one expresses the name of the piece in Hebrew, and the character of the piece is basically lyrical and singing like even though there are some active and virtuoso sections too.