Modern Hebrew Annual Lecture - 20th Century Jewish Music / Assaf Shelleg
Although the field of modern art music written by Jews is vast and in constant transition, it has been divided by separate discourses, each claiming its aesthetic or national share while obscuring the bigger picture and its many nuances. The talk will examine these tensions by locating the lands that have constituted modern Jewish art music and view them as mediators in a single network. Three works will animate this talk: Arnold Schoenberg’s paraphrasing of the Second Commandment in his 1925, “Du Sollst Nicht, Du Musst” (written shortly after formulating his first twelve-tone designs); Josef Tal’s 1955 opera Saul at Ein-Dor, whose libretto is word-for-word the biblical Hebrew text of 1 Samuel 28 (a German migr , Tal had written this work in Israel); and Chaya Czernowin 1999 opera Pnima, which draws on David Grossman’s See Under: Love but mutes its text in its entirety.
Assaf Shelleg is senior lecturer of musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of the awards winning book Jewish Contiguities and the Soundtrack of Israeli History (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Theological Stains: Art Music and the Zionist Project (Oxford University Press, 2020). Shelleg is also a music contributor for Haaretz, and the curator of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
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