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Sim Shalom : arranged for string quartet & voice from the song cycle 'Compassion'

by Lior and Nigel Westlake (2016)

Also known as: Grant Peace

Work Overview

Arranged for string quartet & voice from Compassion, a song cycle for voice & orchestra, composed by Nigel Westlake & Lior Attar.

More than any of the texts used in "Compassion", 'Sim Shalom' demonstrates that a literal translation is often inadequate in conveying the depth and richness of these texts. An example can be found in one of the stanzas relating to the vital virtues of character - "chesed, tzedakah, u'vracha', v'rachamim", - "charity, integrity and compassion".

The word "rachamim" can be quite simply translated as "compassion". When uncovered however, this word has far richer and deeper meaning, being a derivation of the Hebrew word for 'womb'. More importantly, a closely related word of the same origin - 'Rachaman' - which can be translated as "the Compassionate One", is one of the three names for God in the Jewish religion.

Interestingly, the origin, meaning and use of "Rachaman" is almost identical between the two worlds of Judaism and Islam. Such is the centrality and esteem these two religions place on the virtue of compassion, that it is in fact one of the names given to God.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, solo tenor voice.

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Julian Burnside for performance by Tinalley String Quartet, Lior.

Performances of this work

4 May 2016: at Through Nature to Eternity (Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Hall). Featuring Lior, Tinalley String Quartet.

2 May 2016: at Through Nature to Eternity (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Lior, Tinalley String Quartet.

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