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.
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.