Five Hebrew Love Songs
Composer: Eric Whitacre | Poetry by Hila Plitmann
1. TEMUNÁ (A PICTURE)
Temuná belibí charuntá;
Nodédet beyn ór uveyn ófel:
Min dmamá shekazó et guféch kach otá,
Usaréch al pańa’ich kach nófel.
A picture is engraved in my heart;
Moving between light and darkness:
A sort of silence envelopes your body,
And your hair falls upon your face just so.
2. KALÁ KALLÁ (LIGHT BRIDE)
She is all mine,
She will kiss me!
3. LARÓV (MOSTLY)
“Laróv,” amár gag la’shama’im,
“Hamerchák shebeynéynu hu ad;
Ach lifnéy zman alu lechán shna’im,
Uveynéynu nishár sentiméter echad”
“Mostly,” said the roof to the sky,
“the distance between you and me is endlessness;
But a while ago two came up here,
And only one centimeter was left between us.”
4. ÉYZE SHÉLEG! (WHAT SNOW!)
Kmo chalomót ktaníim
Noflím mehashamá im.
Like little dreams
Falling from the sky.
5. RAKÚT (TENDERNESS)
Hu hayá malé rakút;
Hi haytá kasha
Vechól káma shenistá lehishaér kach,
Pashút, uvlí sibá tová,
Lakách otá el toch atzmó,
Veheníach Bamakóm hachí rach.
He was full of tenderness;
She was very hard.
And as much as she tried to stay thus,
Simply, and with no good reason,
He took her into himself,
And set her down
In the softest, softest place.
About the Composer
Grammy-winning American composer and conductor and model Eric Whitacre (born January 2, 1970) is among today’s most popular musicians. His concert music has been performed throughout the world by millions of amateur and professional musicians alike, while his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from over 110 different countries. A graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York, Eric was recently appointed Artist in Residence with the Los Angeles Master Chorale having completed a five-year term as Composer in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, UK.
As conductor of the Eric Whitacre Singers he has released several chart-topping albums. A sought after guest conductor, Eric has conducted choral and instrumental concerts around the globe, including sold-out concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. In addition to several collaborations with legendary Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, he has worked with British pop icons Imogen Heap, Annie Lennox and Depeche Mode.
A charismatic speaker, Eric has given keynote addresses for many Fortune 500 companies and global institutions including Apple, Google, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations Speaker’s Programme and two main stage TED talks.
About the Composition
In the spring of 1996, violinist Friedemann Eichhorn invited his close friends Eric Whitacre and his girlfriend-at-the-time Hila Plitmann (a soprano) to give a concert with him in his home city of Speyer, Germany. Because they were appearing as a band of traveling musicians, the suite was written as a set of troubadour songs for piano, violin and soprano. Whitacre asked Plitmann (who was born and raised in Jerusalem) to write a few ‘postcards’ in her native tongue, and a few days later she presented five exquisite and delicate Hebrew poems - They are mini-poems, a bit like haikus, with inner rhyming, and are reminiscent of their relationship and romance. The five poems were set to music while they vacationed in a small skiing village in the Swiss Alps, and performed for the first time a week later in Speyer. The suite was later commissioned to be adapted to five different arrangements for various combinations of vocal/chorus, violin/strings and piano performers, including the one presented here for soprano, violin and piano.
Each of the songs captures a moment that Hila and Eric shared together. Kalá Kallá (which means ‘light bride’) was a pun Whitacre came up with while Plitmann was first teaching him Hebrew. The bells at the beginning of Éyze Shéleg! are the exact pitches that awakened them each morning in Germany as they rang from a nearby cathedral.
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