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.
Text: Chronicles II, 26
Music: Yohanan Zaray
Stanley Sperber 1999, 23'42
The composition, commissioned by the Haifa Symphony Orchestra for the oud player Taisir Elias, is a sequel to three previous pieces I have already written for this special instrument, which is closley identified with Arab music. The instrument’s characteristics and its typical sonorities, fuel my imagination as a Jewish Israeli contemporary composer, looking for a language that will combine naturally and organically my Western, Classical origins, with the Oriental sounds that surround me.
Dealing with the concerto form while referring to the Oud as a solo instrument, seemed to me highly fascinating and attractive, and my familiarity with Taisir Elias’s virtuoso abilities, convinced me to write for this unique combination of Symphonic Orchestra and the Oud, dealing with the complexities this adventure arises.
The piece is another humble effort of mine to try and bridge the gap between cultures and nations, through music.