ORCHESTRA

 

Keter for Full Orchestra (2015) ‘18
Composed: 2015
Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endownment fund

Keter (Hebrew: “Crown”) is the first of the ten Sephirot of the tree of life in the Kabbalah.
Defined by the book of Zohar as “the most hidden of all hidden things”, Keter is the primal force of creation and represents the divine being and the initial connection to the infinity.
Coming from nothingness and full of raw energy, Keter contains all the potential for content in the universe but cannot be grasped and therefore can only be seen as a hidden light.

The piece is written in one long movement and in one pulse, and is divided by seven related sections, each exploring a different musical aspect- melodies; chords; rhythm; rests and counterpoint, while commenting and relating to preceding and future sections.
Trying to focus on the musical representation of light and darkness, each section has a different brightness setting, ranging from eternal darkness to pure, radiant light.
As the Kabbalah is rich with numerology, the piece is constantly making use of the significant numbers of 3,7 and 22.

Madrigals for solo Mandolin and String Orchestra (2009) ‘15
Composed: 2009
Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endownment fund
Dedicated to Avi Avital
First performance: Tel-Aviv, December 2009, Avi Avital, Tel-Aviv soloists.

“Madrigals” is inspired by, and loosely based on, Gesualdo’s miraculous madrigal, “Mercè grido piangendo”,which is also being quoted in the very end of the piece. Also, similarly to madrigal writing, the writing for the strings is largely focused on independent flowing lines rather than a group vs. a soloist. The mandolin in the piece plays a double role- both as an ordinary voice through the flowing lines and both as a leader which commenting and leading the action.

Bagatelles for String Orchestra (2004/2010) ‘15

Composed: 2004 rev. 2010

First performance: Israel Symphony Orchestra, Sep. 2010, Daniel Cohen, conductor

Concerto for Violin and Horn (2002) ‘16

Composed: 2002

Commissioned by the Musica Nova Consort

First performance: Tel-Aviv museum, July 2002, Gilad Hildesheim, violin, Nitzan Leibovich, conductor, Musica Nova Consort

“Wanderings“ for Bass Clarinet and Ensemble (1999) ‘12

Composed: 1999

First Performance: Tel-Aviv museum, Sep 1999, Mischa Gurfinkel, bass clarinet, Musica Nova consort

THEATRE

“Shooting an elephant”, for Actor and Septet, based on a story by George Orwell (2010) ‘21

Composed in 2010

Commissioned by the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival

First performance at the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, Sep. 2010, Itay Tiran, actor, Gropius Ensemble, Daniel Cohen, conductor

“Shooting an elephant” is the second piece in the trilogy for an actor and ensemble (written for Itay Tiran and the Gropius Ensemble) which started with “KofAdam” (based on a story by Franz Kafka) and will finish with “Mario and the Sorcerer” (based on a story by Thomas Mann).
As in the other two works, the main theme of the piece is a question of freedom and the place of the individual in a radically intense environment.
The piece tells the story of a British officer in Burma and his reaction to the natives request of shooting a raging elephant.
The music opposes the narrator and acts as his surroundings and his different temperament changes, gradually getting a life of their own. Originally for the 7 instrumentalists of Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du Soldat”, the piece requires Electric and bass guitars, accordion, Shoffar, Saxophone and Mandolin.

“KofAdam”, for actor and septet, based on a story by Kafka (2008) ‘22

Composed: 2008, libretto by Daniel Cohen and Matan Porat after Franz Kafka

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment fund

First Performance: Tel-Aviv, May 2008, Itay Tiran, actor, Gropius Ensemble

“Animal Farm”, in one act for seven singers and eleven players (2007) ‘55

Composed: 2007, Libretto by Ofir Barkan after George Orwell

Commissioned by the Tel-Aviv University

First performance at the Tel-Aviv University, June 2007

CHAMBER

“Otzma” for string quartet (2017) ‘15

Composed: 2017

Instrumentation: string quartet

Commissioned by the Wigmore Hall, for Cuarteto Casals

First performance at the Wigmore Hall, September 2017, Cuarteto Casals

“Otzma” is my second string quartet, written for the Cuarteto Casals for their 2017-8 Beethoven cycle.
The name “Otzma” (hebrew: strength, power) refers to Beethoven’s famous marking in the third movement of op. 132, “neue Kraft fühlend” (feeling renewed strength). As the title suggests, the piece is written in a flow of energy and drives its inspiration from the celebrated third movement (Heilige Dankgesang in lydischen Tonart) as well as the second movement (allegro ma non tanto) of Beethoven’s majestic quartet.
Similarly to the beginning of the second movement, where the quartets play together the same notes, the piece tries to create at certain points one instrument from the four players.
Referring Beethoven by using several modal scales throughout the piece, the “f” tone is being avoided for the entire composition.

“Mizmorim” for clarinet and string quartet (2016) ‘14

Composed: 2016

Instrumentation: clarinet and string quartet

Commissioned by Mizmorim Festival, Basel, dedicated to Chen Halevi

First performance at the Kol Hamusica Festival, Kfar Blum, July 2016, Chen Halevy, Boris Brovtsyn, Eddy Kotler, Shira Majoni, Haran Meltzer

”Mizmorim“ is a Rhapsody in 6 parts for a solo clarinetist and a string quartet.
During the entire piece the clarinet is faced in front of the quartet as a singular entity against a group, sometimes as a prayer, sometimes driving the musical narrative forward and a times reacting to the strings.

The piece has two thematic sections- parts in perpetual motion (such as the beginning and the Hasidic dance in the middle of the piece) and meditative parts, in which the clarinet is mimicking a prayer.
The 6 parts, which are continuosely played: Introduction, beginning with a solo clarinet, a slow Interlude in which the other thematic themes are revealed, a prayer, Hasidic dance, a Cadence of the clarinetist with the first violin and a slow coda which concludes the piece.

”Mizmorim“ was commissioned by the ”Mizmorim“ festival in Basel and is dedicated to Chen Halevy.

“Durch Nacht und Wind” for cello and piano (2014) ‘15

Composed: 2014

Instrumentation: cello and piano

Commissioned by Alois Lageder for Vinoton 2014, dedicated to Nicolas Altstaedt

“Durch Nacht und Wind”, commissioned by Alois Lageder for Vinoton 2014 and dedicated to cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is a rhapsodic fantasy for cello and piano, built from 8 contrasting alternating sections, “Jagd” (no. 1,3,5,7) and “Nacht” (no. 2,4,6,8). Originally inspired by the painting “Die Jäger im Schnee” by Pieter Breugel dem Ältern, where a group of peasants return from an unsuccessful hunt to a winter’s landscape, the piece’s title is a quote from Goethe’s famous poem, “Erlkönig”, which, like the piece, has 8 stanzas and describes the hunt and possession of the Elf king on the young boy, riding through the night with his father.
While the piece is generally inspired by the poem (and in parts, also by Schubert’s composition), the music is by no means programmatic. The main sections of the piece are no. 4, where the cello plays a long, meditative solo cadenza, and the last “Jagd” section (no. 7), in which the hunt reaches a climatic peak, only before disappearing to the emptiness of the night.

“Inventions” for String Quintet (2013) ‘12

Composed: 2013

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello and bass

Commissioned by the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Akademie

“Fangen” for Violin and Piano (2013) ‘8

Composed: 2013

First performance: Gewandhaus Leipzig, January 2014, Sebastian Breuninger, violin, Matan Porat, piano

“Start-time” for Clarinet, Violin and Timpani (2013) ‘5

Composed: 2013

Commissioned by Cleveland ChamberFest

Dedicated to Franklin Cohen, Diana Cohen and Alexander Cohen

First performance: Cleveland ChamberFest, June 2013, Franklin Cohen, clarinet, Diana Cohen, violin, Alexander Cohen, timpani

“Clavier” for Harpsichord and Piano (2012) ‘20

Composed: 2012

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund

Dedicated to Tamar Halperin

“Comment dire” for Clarinet and Piano (2012) ‘6

Composed: 2012

Commissioned by and dedicated to Chen Halevi

First performance: Cyprus chamber music festival, April 2012, Chen Halevi, clarinet, Matan Porat, piano

The piece “comment dire” for clarinet and piano was inspired by a poem by Samuel Beckett with the same name- the last thing he wrote before his death in 1989.
In the poem, as in much of Beckett’s works, there is a constant deconstruction of the phrase and isolating parts and bits of it in an intrusive, rhythmical way. Many words return and presented almost like musical motives.
My piece is similarly trying to create continuity and phrases from ambiguous and frantic motives. The clarinet and the piano fighting themselves, exchanging ideas and as Vladimir and Estragon, the famous “Godot” characters, trying to reach something that they will never get.

The piece is written and dedicated to my friend Chen Halevi for his 40st birthday.

“Ziffern” for Flute, Cello and Piano (2011) ‘12

Composed: 2011

Commissioned by the Boris Pergamenchikov prize

First performance: Hanns Eisler, Berlin, 2011, Trio Vis (Roy Amotz, flute, Ira Givol, cello, Matan Porat, piano)

“2556” for Bandoneon, Clarinet, Bass and Piano (2011) ‘6

Composed: 2011

Dedicated to Tango Factory

First performance: Schiermonnikoog festival, October 2011, Tango Factory (Marcelo Nisinman, bandoneon, Chen Halevi, clarinet, Matan Porat, piano, Winfried Holzenkamp, bass)

Requiem for 5 players around a Piano (2011) ‘18

Composed: 2011

Commissioned by Elena Bashkirova for the Intonations festival

First performance: Intonations festival, Jewish Museum, Berlin, April 2012

The piece “Requiem”, specially commissioned for the festival by Elena Bashkirova, is unique in many ways. 5 musicians are circling around a grand piano which lid is open, performing a strange but fascinating tribal-like ritual, which is foreign to the listener and the viewer. In 10 continuous parts, the piece explores the various possibilities of the instrument well beyond the keyboard, and creates an array of sounds which evokes recollection of percussion and even string instruments. Although it is unclear what is the ceremony for, the audience is invited to find their own meaning to the piece’s mystery

Horn trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (2010) ‘9

Commissioned by the Freunde Junger Musiker, Germany

First performance: Atrium, Berlin, November 2010, Michiko Feuerlein, violin, Tunca Dogu, horn, Matan Porat, piano

“Where now?” for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano (2010) ‘7

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund

Dedicated to the Meitar Ensemble

First performance: Tel-Aviv, March 2010, Meitar Ensemble

“Horo” for Flute, Viola and Harp (2010) ‘7

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund

First performance: Tel-Aviv, March 2010, Roy Amotz, flute, Jenny Anschel, viola, Sivan Magen, harp

“Hands Off” for Viola and Percussion (2009) ‘17

Composed: 2009

Commissioned by Kim Kashkashian

First Performance: Auditori, Barcelona, April 2010, Kim Kashkashian, viola, Robyn Schulkowsky, percussion

“Hands off” for viola and percussion is a 6 movement work- 2 instrumental-only intermezzi and 4 movements with text, all related to hands (a haiku by Basho; a short story by Kafka, a poem by Neruda and a text on “how to shake hands”). As all texts are extremely different from each other (and each is in a different language- Japanese, German, English and German, being read by pre-recorded native speakers and sometimes also by the performers)- each movement is uniquely distinctive and offer the listener a very different approach to the possible writing for the two instruments and to the “hands” theme itself.

“Night Horses” for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (2007) ‘12

Composed: 2007

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund, dedicated to the Israel Chamber Project

First performance: Jerusalem music center, June 2007, Tibi Cziger, clarinet, Itamar Zorman, violin, Michal Korman, cello, Assaff Weisman, piano

Recording: Azica records, 2012, the Israel Chamber Project

“Night Horses” was inspired by one of Jorge Luis Borges’s written lectures. Borges argued that the original meaning of the word “nightmare” is “night horse”, and that for years people believed a black horse is invading their dreams and causing them distress.
The piece is a rhapsodic fantasy, sometimes sweet, otherwise harsh and intense, which commences in a dream, and concludes in awakening.

“Interplays” for Flute, Clarinet, Harp, two percussionists, and String Quartet (2006) ‘14

Composed: 2006

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund

First performance: Tel Aviv musuem, March 2006, Daniel Cohen, conductor

“Movement” for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (2003) ‘11

Composed: 2003

Commissioned by Elena Bashkirova and the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival

First performance: Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, Sep 2003, Karl-Heinz Steffens, clarinet, Latica Honda Rosenberg, violin, Kirill Zlotnikov, cello, Matan Porat, piano

“La Muerte de La Muerte de Los Caracoles“ for String Quartet (2003) ‘15

Composed: 2003

First performance: Tel-Aviv, 2003

Fantasy for Piano and Violin (2001) ‘7

Composed: 2001

Commissioned by and dedicated to Vera Vaidman and Emanuel Krasovsky

First Performance: Henri Crown hall, Jerusalem, June 2001, Vera Vaidman, violin, Emanuel Krasovsky, piano

“Nocturne“ (after R. Desnos) for Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello (2001) ‘13

Composed: 2001

First performance: Tel-Aviv University, April 2001

“Metropolis“ for Piano in 4 hands (2000) / Two pianos (2001) ‘6

Composed: 2000

First performance: Tel-Hai International Masterclasses, August 2000

“Five Phases of the Moon“ for Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Piano, Violin and Cello (2000) ‘18

Composed: 2000

First performance: Tel-Aviv University, May 2000

“Circles“ for a large ensemble (1999) ‘14

Composed: 1999

Commissioned by the Kaprizma Ensemble

First performance: May 1999, Kaprizma Ensemble

VOCAL

“Im Zwischenraum” for Soprano and Piano (2015) ‘15

Composed: 2015 Text: Apollinaire, Joyce, Grimm, Solanas

Commissioned by and dedicated to Anna Lucia Richter

First performance: Heidelberg Frühling Festival, 11.04.15, Anna Lucia Richter, Nicholas Rimmer

Hotel room. Afternoon. A girl is waiting impatiently for a call from a man. While waiting for the call, the seven deadly sins pass through in her mind:

It begins with Faulheit|Sloth, where she is lying on bed, bored and smoking (Hôtel, by G. Apollinaire). She wakes up and scans the room service menu for Völlerei|Gluttony, gradually looking at the prices and start counting numbers (Geiz|Greed), what turns out to be a phone number. she then ask herself for the first time, “soll ich ihn anrufen?”
Then comes Wollust|Lust. As in a train of her thoughts, she recites the famous “Penelope” monologue from Ulysses by James Joyce, expressing her sexual desires. Again, she wonders why doesn’t he call her and if she should call him.
Because she doesn’t get any call, she gets very insecure and talks to the mirror (Neid|Envy) the famous dialogue from Brüder Grimm’s Schneewittchen (“Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand…”).
Still, no call. She now gets extremely angry and wishes all men to die, from a text by radical feminist Valerie Solanas (Zorn|Wrath). Then, at last, she thinks again, “soll ich ihn anrufen?”, but because of her pride she does not (Hochmut|Pride).

“Mentre Dormi” for Counter-Tenor and Chamber Orchestra (2014) ‘6

Composed: 2014 Text: Metastasio (Italian)

Commissioned by the Geneva Camerata

Dedicated to Andreas Scholl

First Performance: Geneva, April 2014, Andreas Scholl, David Greilsammer, Geneva Camerata

“Lux Aeterna” for Clarinet and Choir (2009) ‘6

Composed: 2009 Text: Latin

Commisioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund

Dedicated to David Orlowsky

First performance: Berliner Dom, Berlin, Sep. 2009, David Orlowsky, SingerPur

Recording: SONY 2010, David Orlowsky, SingerPur

“Drowning” for Soprano and Piano (2008) ‘20

Composed: 2008, Text by Camilo José Cela

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray endowment fund

“Mrs. Caldwell speaks to her son” (Mrs. Caldwell habla con su hijo) is a wonderful, unique novel by 1989 Nobel prize winner, Camilo José Cela. Written from the view point of Mrs. Caldwell, an elderly English woman who had lost her son in the Aegean seas, the novel consists of 213 short entries in her diary, each one shows another aspect in her life and world and reveals an intense, almost incestuous love to her dead son.

I chose 10 of the shorter entries in the book (no. 14b, 155, 9, 4, 63, 14, 44, 178, 210, 213), and slightly edited and adjusted them so they could be used as poetry. Although the novel has no conventional plot and is lacking a strict narrative line, we can observe that Mrs. Caldwell is slowly losing her remaining sanity (as in the strange, surreal song, “The Iceberg”)- as a result, the last 4 entries in her diary, of which I used two, “Air” and “Water”, are written from the Royal Insane Asylum.

As each of the poems draws a rich, completely independent world of imagery and expression, the music, as a result, is extremely varied. Each song is a different character piece, sometimes commenting on the previous song, but always true to its unique mood and expression.

Scales are present in all 10 songs- going upwards and downwards, hidden and exposed. While they sometime portray her hopes and dreams, scales are also ultimately drowning the heroine in her despair.

Three songs for a Female Voice and Harp (2004/9) ‘15

Composed: 2004 for voice and piano strings, 2009 for voice and harp, Lyrics by Daniel M

First Performance: Marlboro Music Festival, July 2009, Kiera Duffy, Soprano, Sivan Magen, Harp

“A Festa dos Animais“ for Children’s Choir and Piano (2004) ‘24

Composed: 2004, Lyrics by Barbara Pires and Monica Santos

Commissioned by and dedicated to Maria João Pires

First Performance at the Montpellier Festival, Aug. 2004, Belgais choir, Maria João Pires, piano

“Lewis Carroll Poems“ for Soprano and Ensemble (2000) ‘16

Composed: 2000, Lyrics by Lewis Carroll

First Performance: Tel-Aviv University, October 2000,  Shirit Lee-Weiss, soprano, Yonathan Cnaan, conductor, students of the Tel-Aviv academy

Two songs for a Women’s Choir (1998) ‘6

Composed: 1998, Text: Dalia Rabikovich

Three Nathan Zach Poems for a mixed choir (1998) ‘8

Composed: 1998, Text: Nathan Zach

Five Yehuda Amichai Poems for Baritone and Piano (1998) ‘15

Composed: 1998, Text: Yehuda Amichai

PIANO

“Drei Klavierstücke” for Piano (2013) ‘11

Composed: 2013

First performance: Philharmonie, Berlin, October 2013, Matan Porat, piano

The three piano pieces were composed in 2013. Formed on the same bass, those highly expressive short pieces are all played without break.
the first piece, “Prelude”, is loosely based on the nursery song “Twinkle twinkle little star”, and is in a simple ABA form.
The second piece, “Fantasia”, is the heart of the whole work. In a rhapsodic writing, the melody is trying to break through the contrary motion of the hands, with little success.
The third and last movement, “Totentanz” is a fast and frantic movement interrupted by a constant low bass, which also ends the piece.
The work is dedicated to Andras Schiff.

“Whaam!” for Piano (2009) ‘8

Composed: 2009

Commissioned by and dedicated to David Greilsammer

First performance: Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris, 2009, David Greilsammer, piano

Recording: SONY 2012, David Greilsammer

Parables and Paradoxes (2009) ‘9

 

“Hot Hands” for Piano (2008) ‘12

 

“Elegies” for Piano (2007) ‘8

Composed: 2007

Commissioned by the Tel-Hai International masterclasses, in memory of Pnina Salzman

…For Piano (2006) ‘18

Composed: 2006

First performance: Ravinia Festival, July 2006, Matan Porat, piano

In four movements, loosely connected to each other thematically, an attempt is made to explore the different sonorities and the different expressive approaches to the instrument.
The concise opening Prelude presents the piece’s main thematic material: two motifs of three-note each.
The first Aria, In Memoriam Claude Vivier, is a tribute to the late Canadian composer. Slow and meditative, a repeated E note is the base for all ideas and sound spectrums.  The following short Toccata returns to the percussive approach of the Prelude. The mechanical rhythmic vitality and the prepared piano make the instrument resemble a harpsichord.
The second concluding Aria is freely based on the Prelude materials. An extensive solo cadenza for the right hand is divided into five continuous variations. A final section comes back to the meditative mode of the first Aria, quietly concluding the whole piece.

“Images” for Piano (2002) ‘11

Composed: 2002

Dedicated to Juliana Steinbach

First Performance: July 2002, Paris, Juliana Steinbach, piano

“Sonata” for Piano (2000) ‘10
“Variations” for Piano (2000) ‘10
“Eight Pieces” for Piano (2000) ‘15
“Slichot” for Piano (1998) ‘10

SOLO

Partita for Mandolin and Loop Station (2011) ‘15

Composed: 2011

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment fund

Dedicated to Avi Avital

First Performance: September 2011, Avi Avital, Mandolin

“Borders” for Solo Bassoon/ Solo Clarinet (2005) ‘6

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment fund for young Israeli composers of the America-Israel Culture Foundation for the 2006 Aviv Competitions, “Borders” for Bassoon/Clarinet solo is a Passacaglia in which the space between its notes is getting smaller and shorter as the piece continues, and at the same time different elements are being added, trying to find their place and develop within its borders.

“Air”- A study for Solo Flute (2005) ‘4

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment fund for young Israeli composers of the America-Israel Culture Foundation for the 2006 Aviv Competitions, “Air” for solo Flute is a short study that examines the undefined pitches of the instrument, together with the different air regulations that are possible to be played.
The meditative feeling that is in most of the piece is getting stronger when we are experiencing the birth of the natural pitch at its end. The piece is in the memory of Dan Tzalka.

“Fragments” for Oboe solo (2005) ‘5

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment fund for young Israeli composers of the America-Israel Culture Foundation for the 2006 Aviv Competitions, “Fragments” for solo Oboe is freely based upon Samuel Beckett’s short play “Not I”.
Close in spirit to the play, the piece is trying to capture the whimsy, unstoppable flow of words and create a breathless stream of consciousness in music.
Trying to transform the repeated leitmotifs in the play into musical phrases, the Oboe is becoming “The Mouth”, throwing in the air fragments of short ideas that are never developed, unable to deal with them or stopping the flow.

Theme, Variations and Fugue for Clarinet solo (2005) ‘8

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment fund for young Israeli composers of the America-Israel Culture Foundation for the 2006 Aviv Competitions, “Theme, Variations and Fugue” for solo Clarinet is based on four dodecaphonic rows, shortly introduced in the brief Fanfare theme.
Driving its inspiration from Bach’s compositions for unaccompanied violin and cello, the piece tries to transform the clarinet into a polyphonic instrument, while capturing the spirit of some old-fashioned dances, such as the Menuet, the Sarabande and the Gigue. This Variations-Suite is followed by a Fugue in four voices, and in the end of the composition there is a reappearance of the opening fanfare theme.

“Meditations” for Cello solo (2004) ‘6

TRANSCRIPTIONS

“Prelude à l'après midi d'un Faune” for Piano (2016)
Libertango for Piano (2011)
“Im Frühling” by Schubert for Piano (2007)
(Mais de) Uma Nota Só for Piano (2005)
An Der Schonen, Blauen Donau for Two Pianos (2004)
Die Fledermaus Overture for Two Pianos (2003)