Since My Soul Loved
Daniel Hoffman (Violin)
Galia Hai (Viola)
Jonathan Gotlibovich (Cello)
Ora Boasson Horev (Bass)
Yitzhak Yedid (Piano)
Since My Soul Loved (2005) is a four movement composition for violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano. It was written in Jerusalem in 2005, by Yitzhak Yedid.
The work’s four movements contain fantasy images, color textures, ambiances and states of consciousness that fluctuate between the mysterious and the manifest, between the Enchanting love and the Silence and darkness of the night, and enlightenment and Song dance. The prayers that appear in the work were inspired by the prayers of Jewish religious holidays, and the Et shaarei ratson (Gates of reason) prayer taken from the Yom Kippur services, and express emotions from within the Jewish-Israeli world.
Since My Soul Loved was written and is devised from a range of elements:
In addition to contemporary classical compositional techniques the work incorporates improvisational passages that bear an esthetic characteristic of classical eastern music, western Jewish music and avant garde improvisation. The concept behind this compositional approach is based on the premise that the contemporary artist is conversant in different musical languages and, in fact, this skill generates a wealth of musical language that combines into a singular homogenous and complete entity.
The five players express an abundance of imagery and ambiances by exchanging roles: delicacy alongside impulsive departures, and tranquility cheek by jowl with sequential density.The players are asked to convey these senses and emotions based on their own understanding and interpretation, which also come through in their improvised passages, and sometimes by building their own sub-compositions. In any case, the objective is to break out of the mold.
The names of the parts of the work are images and poetic comments chosen in order to guide the listener through the general ambiance of the composition, although they are not binding in any sense. The listener is free to juxtapose the names of the various parts with the music, and to devise a story according to his or her own understanding or imagination.
The first movement opens with a slow harmonic progression whereby the four stringed instruments, at third intervals, create surprising tones based on three-chord structures. This opening picture imbues a sense of calm and tranquility and is called On a Festive Day. The picture evolves and leads on to Etude on Thought, a miniature chromatic piano solo which is repeated, precisely, twice more during the course of the work. It symbolizes unceasing - and even disturbing - deep thought. We then return to a slow harmonic string progression, as in the opening image, that leads to In the silence and darkness of the night, which induces an atmosphere of mystery and fear.
We progress to Passion's prayer, a western Jewish style melody played in unison and, like a folklore supplication, here too each player improvises on the theme subtly and delicately, imbuing the melody with his or her own personality and vitality. This is also occasionally achieved by reducing the pitch and through the use of microtonal sounds. A brief reprise to In the silence and darkness of the night leads on to Enchanting Love, in which the four strings improvise with heavy vibrato, and with tonal changes that revolve around definitive high register notes. Meanwhile, the piano follows its own path along In the silence and darkness of the night. The closing part, Purification of a dream, is an harmonic minimalist section that develops along very slow glissandi of the strings, and leads up to an abstract ending of a C minor chord with four overtones of the strings.
The second movement opens with The craving of the righteous. The piano plays a bass line through the section, with a texture produced by blocking off the piano strings with the pianist’s left hand. The viola opens up a brief melodic line, the cello takes it up while the violin provides a virtuosic response. Thus, the tunes ebb and flow between the instruments, meld and interchange and sometimes rapidly intertwine – like an insatiable craving.
Infinite episode then proffers a series of rapidly interchanging surprising miniature improvisational images, and a quiet high violin tone, which continues without a break until the double bass bursts in and the piece progresses to free improvisation, together with the three other strings. The improvisational passage evolves into a powerful dynamic, and ends with a surprise.
Chorale of excitements is a baroque style piece in four voices. It leads on to Picture of tranquility and calm, an improvisation with overtones of the four stringed instruments.
Song dance of an imaginary ritual ceremony, a surprising unison performed at forte fortissimo, and with interchanging broken tempos. It conjures up images of a hallucinatory dance from some unfamiliar culture. The tune fragmentizes and reemerges, until the denouement when it breaks loose, as if out of control.
The third movement comprises three parts. The first part: The pianist's regard is a solo piano section. It opens with slow harmonic tones, some of which appear at the beginning of the work. This is followed by a passage which is played pizzicato on the piano strings, with a tone reminiscent of harp plucking. Then there is a rhythmic free improvisation passage that ends surprisingly and leads on to the second part.
The second part is a repeat of two imaginary pictures that appeared in the first part of the work Enchanting love and Etude on thought. The third section is a western Jewish style emotive melody. It was inspired by the prayer Et shaarei ratson (Gates of reason) from the Yom Kippur services. The double bass plays the part of a cantor and improvises around the tune, which is played by the audience – the other instruments.
The closing fourth movement opens with a strident statement - Don't impede fate. It infers criticism of an inept decision making process. The instruments split up into interchanging pairs, and play contrasting chromatic melodies that end abruptly. This is followed by a brief passage, It is the time of fall, with the four strings playing a divergent glissando leading to Renewal, an improvisational passage by piano and cello accompanied by the double bass.
In the work’s closing image the five instruments lead a slowly developing harmonic progression towards an abstract ending, similar to the first movement, with a triangular C minor chord, and four overtones from the strings.
This final image summarizes the idea behind the Since My Soul Loved. People seek happiness in the wrong places, and they will never find it. It cannot be found. It is hidden away in the recesses of our soul and, regardless of all other events, as soon as we find love, we will find happiness too.
Jerusalem, September 2008
Composition by Yitzhak Yedid. ACUM
Produced by Yitzhak Yedid
Coproduced by Volker Dueck
Recorded at the "Jaffa Music Auditorium"
in Tel Aviv, Israel, August 31th, 2007
Recording engineer: Alex Zborovsky
Mixing engineer: Udi Koomran
Liner notes translated by Barry Davis
Cover Photo: Volker Dueck
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