Integral/parent work: Mishpatim (Laws)

Vayiru Et (And they Saw) in Memoriam Matan Givol was written in 2010-2011. The composition is dedicated to the memory of violinist Matan Givol who died in 2011.

The composition is based on the Hebrew Bible text from the chapter of Mishpatim (Laws) in the book of Exodus as well as a section from the Book of Jeremiah. In Jewish tradition, the Haftarah text is to be read in the synagogue in the same week that the book of Mishpatim (Laws) is read. The English translation of the text is the following:

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, With Aaron, Nadab, and seventy elders of Israel, and bow low from afar. Moses alone shall come near the LORD; but the others shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.”

Moses went and repeated to the people of the LORD and all the rules; and all the people answered with one voice, saying, “All the things that the LORD has commanded we will do!” Moses then wrote down all the commands of the LORD.

Early in the morning, he set up an alter at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. He designated some young men among the Israelites, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed bulls as offerings of well-being to the LORD. Moses took one part of the blood and put it in basins, and the other part of the blood he dashed against the alter. Then he took the record of the covenant and read it aloud to the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will faithfully do!” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people and said “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD makes with you concerning all these commands.”

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended; and they saw the God of Israel.

In combining these texts within the composition, relationships between ancient mythical ritual and textual hermeneutics are examined. As in much of my recent work, I have continued to incorporate Hebrew number symbolism (gematria) to form musical structure. Gematria not only serves to structure musical parameters such as pitch, rhythm, meter, tempo, etc. but also to organize ensemble timbres, musical meaning, electronic convolution and electronic spatialization. Simultaneously, sonorous and formal connections are created between the sections of Torah and Haftorah text, one existing as phonetic and melodic ritual and the other as a repeating, haunted chorale.

I am grateful to the members of the Meitar Ensemble, Noa Frenkel, Detlef Heusinger, and the staff of the Experimentalstudio and for their assistance in the creation of this composition.

[English translation: English translation from Etz Haim: Torah and Commentary, David L. Lieber, Jules Harlow, eds. (New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2001)., ii-15]