The Hebrew Scriptures Return to the Hebrews
The workshop will demonstrate the ease by which translated Hebrew biblical texts in the classic choral repertoire are rendered back into the Hebrew language, their natural home. There will also be a concise explanation of why this re-translation is important; for the audience, for the concept of Art as communication and for the honor of the composer himself.
There will be demonstration and discussion of examples from “Messiah” by G. F. Handel and “Ein deutsches Requiem” by Johannes Brahms. Specific attention will be paid to the fourth movement of the Brahms Requiem “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen”, which is the Luther Bible translation of Psalm 84, verses 1,2,4. We will learn to sing it in Hebrew! This workshop, then, will not a boring lecture, but an informed musical experience!
Composer and Conductor
I am the founder of a non-profit organization named “Kamti”, a Hebrew acronym for “The Promotion of Cultural Excellence in Israel.” Kamti produces the “Liturgi-Kal” Concert Choir. We present the choral repertoire of scriptural and liturgical works written in, or translated to Hebrew.The Hebrew Bible (known as the Old Testament in the Christian world) and the New Testament Scripture form the basis for much of the rich choral literature of the last five centuries. The texts of both of these Testaments are Hebraic in nature. Even the New Testament books, known to us only from Greek codexes, were written by Jews and spring from Hebrew thinking and philosophy. There is even a strong case to be made for an original Hebrew “urtext”, as yet undiscovered.
The “raison d’être” for our work is the firm conviction that the Word of the Lord “… will not return empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) Fundamental to accomplishing its purpose is being understood by the hearers. This is why we translate works into Hebrew! I firmly believe that this was also the underlying motivation of the great composers of sacred choral works. They took the holy texts and framed them beautifully so that the spiritual message entered the hearts of the audience and caused deeper understanding.