an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Lament for Syrian victims to be premiered on the West Bank

  • We have received the following information from the Australia-based Israeli composer, Yitzhak Yedid:


    yedid lament

    Tomorrow the Australian Voices will premiere in Palestine a new choir work I have completed a couple of weeks ago in memory of the victims in Syria and Egypt. Performances will be in a number of locations in Palestine. Following Palestine the choir will also perform the work in their tour in Germany.

    The work is titled ‘The Crying Souls’, ‘In Memory of the Victims in Syria and Egypt.’.

    This is not a happy time, and this work is to express my endless sadness to the death of innocent people. This must be stopped.

    Performances date:

    Sun 25 Aug: rehearsals and workshops (Bethlehem) Mon 26 Aug: rehearsals, workshops and concert (Bethlehem) Tue 27 Aug: rehearsals, workshops and performance (Jericho) Wed 28 Aug: rehearsals, workshops and concert (Bethlehem) Thu 29 Aug: rehearsals, workshops and concert (Ramallah) Fri 30 Aug: rehearsals & performance (Bethlehem) Sat 31 Aug: rehearsals & performance (Ramallah).

    About the work:

    The Crying Souls In Memory of the Victims in Syria and Egypt

    The Crying Souls is a single movement work for a choir. It was commissioned by The Australian Voices for theirs tours in the Palestinian Authority’s territories and in Germany. I have completed the work only a couple of weeks ago. The Crying Souls is in memory of the victims in Syria and Egypt. Last week hundreds of innocent people were brutally murdered in Syria. According to the media, in chemical weapons attacks near Damascus more than 1,300 people were massacred. In the last two years thousands of civilians were murdered. 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 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 quartet 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.

    Looking for new compositional approaches and challenging musical conventions through the synthesis of a wide spectrum of contemporary and ancient styles is what inspired the composition of this work. Intellectual conflicts such as the confrontation with philosophical matters and religious and political aspects have always been of my interest, and also underlie and motivated this work. I have been inspired in particular by Béla Bartók and Arnold Schoenberg to develop a personal vision as a composer. 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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Gurnemanz says:

    I’m wondering…Who qualifies under the category of “victims”? Does it include Coptic Christians, other non-Muslims and secular Muslims in Egypt murdered, tortured and in other ways abused by the Muslim Brotherhood?
    Or that Christian boy in Syria executed in front of his parents by the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Free Syrian Army for merely making a mild joke about Mohammed? Or other Christians in Syria kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the FSA? How about an honorable mention to the guy whose heart was eaten on-screeen?

  2. whitfieldesque says:

    Good for Aussie Voices for singing about something important to them – and should be important to us.

an ArtsJournal blog