The crying souls : Lament for Syrian Victims
by Yitzhak Yedid (2014)
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The Crying Souls was written as a response to the chemical weapons attacks that happened in August 2013 in Damascus when more than 1,300 innocent civilian including children were massacred. This work expresses my endless sadness to the death of innocent people.
My spiritual experience as a child chanting the Baqashot at the well-known Ades Synagogue in Jerusalem also inspired this composition. Baqashot are collections of supplications, songs and prayers that have been sung by the Sephardic Syrian Jewish communities for centuries. Every Shabbat during winter months my father woke me up a few hours after midnight to walk to Ades Synagogue to participate in the singing until dawn. Later in my life I was able to distinguish between different Maqamat. This attracted me to explore classical Arabic music and heterophonic textures, and, just as has occurred in Baqashot, to compose works that merge Maqamat with Jewish themes. Since I trained in Western classical music and practice improvisation (as a pianist) it seemed appropriate to merge these different influences.
And so, The Crying Souls is an authentic expression of new music which incorporates a wide spectrum of contemporary and ancient styles. It creates a confluence between the heterophonic textures of Piyyutim and the compositional approaches of contemporary Western classical music.
The work contains of eight major sections. These sections have been created with a range of different approaches and the musical elements have been developed in diverse ways. It ranges between up-tempi to slow, between Arabic melody and a Piyyut to a melancholic mood and between slow harmonic progression to choral Baroque style.
The transition between sections often occurs abruptly and without a musical link, and the sections unite through the development of themes, motifs, articulation and modes. The superimposition and synthesis of such a variety of musical styles and contrasting compositional approaches and modes have been made possible by an overall connectedness in the work. This connectedness can, to a certain degree, be understood, perhaps subconsciously, by experiencing the performance of the piece or by listening to it without a break. Although a musical integration of the various sections has been achieved, the work nevertheless embodies tensions between the ancient and the new, the religious and the secular, and the East and the West.
I am a strong believer in the power of music to bring about understanding, change and reform in societies, and perhaps also between nations. In this work it is my wish to convey the idea of cultural pluralism.
Instrumentation: Choir: 2 sopranos, alto, tenor, baritone, bass
Duration: 8 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by The Australian Voices.
First performance: Aug 14. Lutheran Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.
- Has as subject/About: Anti-War
Performances of this work
Aug 14: Lutheran Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.
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