top of page
As East Moves West: Reimagining Music from the Jews of Arab Lands
Lunchtime concert at Kettle's Yard Cambridge on 24th January 2020. Programme: Eli Nora Alilah 0:00 El Nora Elilah: Medieval Dance (by Leo Appel) 4:54 Ya Ribon Alam 7:54 Ya Ribon Alam: Cantus Firmus (by James Anderson Besant) 15:46 Lecha Dodi: Plainsong (by Donal McCann) 18:40 Lecha Dodi: Tarantella (by Leo Appel) 20:02 Hay Ram Galeh 24:19 Ya Ribon Alam: Galliard (by Leo Appel) 30:47 Yedid Nefesh 33:45 Taqsim 41:01 Habibi Ya Habibi: Introduction (by Leo Appel) 42:27 Habibi Ya Habibi 43:25 ----------------------------------------------------------- Leo Appel - violin, shofar Frank Moon - oud guitar Alex Jones - double bass Hugh Cutting - counter tenor Jordan Murray - percussion, hammered dulcimer ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Leo Appel has taken a number of traditional liturgical Jewish tunes and written pieces in a renaissance style inspired by them, retaining what he considers to be their essence. This concert is a mix of the original songs alongside the reimagined versions. The songs are written in different Arabic maqams. To be able to play these comfortably on the violin, the strings are tuned in the traditional Arabic tuning (GDGD). El Nora Alilah We begin this concert with a conclusion: the piyyut that begins the service at the end of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism. This song demonstrates how tunes have developed across different countries and Jewish communities. The different versions of recognisably similar melodic material originate from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. The instrument played at the beginning is a shofar, a ram’s horn blown at the end of Yom Kippur. El Nora Elilah: Medieval Dance (by Leo Appel) An up-beat dance with a drone in a late medieval style. Ya Ribon Alam A well-known zemer and one of the oldest Hebrew songs. It was written in the sixteenth century by Rabbi Israel Ben Najara, one of the greatest poets in Jewish history. Rabbi Najara immigrated to Israel and settled in the city of Safad where he continued to compose songs in Israel. The song is a hymn of praise to God, a major theme of Shabbat liturgy. It is sung on Friday evenings in all parts of the world. This tune originates from Syria and Iraq. Ya Ribon Alam: Cantus Firmus (by James Anderson Besant) A renaissance-style piece of counterpoint, using the original tune of of Ya Ribon Alam as a strict Cantus Firmus. Lecha Dodi: Plainsong (by Donal McCann) Plainsong based on melody from Algeria. Written by Rabbi Shelomo Halevi Alkabets, born in Thessaloniki in the sixteenth century, Lecha Dodi is a piyyut sung as part of the Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday evenings, welcoming Shabbat. “Lecha dodi” means "come my beloved," and is a request of a mysterious "beloved" that could mean either G-d or one's friends to join together in welcoming Shabbat that is referred to as the "bride": “likrat kallah”. Lecha Dodi: Tarantella (by Leo Appel) A tarantella on a ground bass, derived from a Syrian tune. Hay Ram Galeh Hay Ram Galeh is a recent example of the extensive practice of contrafactum that has characterised the composition of new piyyutim and pizmonim in the Middle East for many centuries. It is a contrafactum of the modern Egyptian song Hayrana Laih by Daoud Hosni. Hay Ram Galeh, is a pizmon, written by Nissim ben Yitzhak Halevi, one of the veteran paytanim of the Ades synagogue in the Nahlaot quarter of Jerusalem. The Ades synagogue was founded in 1901 by the Jewish immigrants from Aleppo. Ya Ribon Alam (by Leo Appel) A duet for guitar and bass, based on the tune of Ya Ribon Alam (as heard earlier). Yedid Nefesh This is a piyyut sung on Shabbat. It is commonly attributed to the sixteenth century kabbalist, Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600), who first published it in Sefer Charedim (published in Venice 1601). The first letters of each of the four verses make up the four-letter name of G-d, known in English as the tetragrammaton. It is sung to a Moroccan tune. Habibi Ya Habibi A popular zemer of Asher Mizrahi (a Jewish Tunisian tenor singer and musician, originating from Jerusalem), composed by Rahamim Omar. It can be heard in synagogue during the three pilgrimage festivals, Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot and has been revived in Israel some time ago by North Africans and Yemenites. It is sung at home on joyous occasions. “Habibi” means beloved in Arabic. Glossary Piyyut—Jewish liturgical poem Pizmon— para-liturgical traditional Jewish song with the intention of praising G-d as well as learning certain aspects of traditional religious teachings Zemer—Jewish hymn sung in an informal setting, with medieval text Maqam— the system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music Contrafactum—the substitution of one text for another without substantial change to the music
A Sephardic Journey through Words and Music
Introduction 0:00 i. Exaltation (soloist: Hugh Cutting) 2:35 ii. Rosa das Rosas (soloist: Alex D'Oyly) 8:02 iii. In Praise of God (read by Jack Bazalgette) 11:12 iv. Yitgadal v'Yitkadash 11:58 v. Se l'aura Spira (soloist: Hugh Cutting) 15:05 vi. Sonata in Dialogo 18:53 vii. Sonata sopra la Bergamasca 22:36 viii. Topsy-Turvy World (read by Jack Bazalgette) 25:50 ix. Fata la parte 27:30 x. Barechu 30:35 xi. La Komida la Manyana 34:17 xii. My heart is in the East (read by Jack Bazalgette) 37:10 xiii. Al Naharot Bavel 37:48 xiv. Amor con Fortuna 41:31 xv. Lamma Bada (soloist: Alec D'oyly) 44:07 xvi. Kuando el Rey Nimrod 48:47 xvii. Extract from the book of Lamentations (read by Jack Bazalgette) 51:25 xviii. ¿Qu'es de ti desconsolado? 53:39 xix. Sonata detta la Moderna 59:24 xx. Mareta, mareta, no'm faces plorar (soloist: Hugh Cutting) 1:04:18 Encore (La Komida la Manyana) 1:13:05 Directed by Leo Appel -------------------------------------- Artists: Leo Appel - violin Sophie Westbrooke - violin/recorder Tess Jackson - viola/percusssion Laura van der Heijden - cello Alex Jones - double bass David Cotter - guitar Sergeio Bucheli - theorbo Jordan Murray - percussion/hammered dulcimer Scarlett Clemmow - soprano Hugh Cutler; Alex D'Oyly - countertenor Gopal Kambo; Jack Bazalgette - tenor Tom Butler; Jamie Conway - bass -------------------------------------- Details about the pieces: i Exaltation - Yaniv d'Or (b. 1975) ii. Rosa das Rosas - Alfonso X el Sabio (1221-1284) iii. In Praise of God - Solomon Ibn Gabriel (1021/22-1070) iv. Yitgadal v'Yitkadash - Salamone Rossi (c.1570-1630) v. Se l'aura Spira - Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) vi. Sonata in Dialogo - Salamone Rossi (c.1570-1630) vii. Sonata sopra la Bergamasca - Salamone Rossi (c.1570-1630) viii. Topsy-Turvy World - Solomon Bonafed (late 14th - mid 15th century) ix. Fata la parte - Juan del Encina (1468-1529/30) x. Barechu - Salamone Rossi (c.1570-1630) xi. La Komida la Manyana - traditional Sephardic song in Ladino xii. My heart is in the East - Yehuda HaLevi (1075-1141) xiii. Al Naharot Bavel - Salamone Rossi (c.1570-1630) xiv. Amor con Fortuna - Juan del Encina (1468-1529/30) xv. Lamma Bada - love poem considered one of the most famous Arabic pieces of its era. xvi. Kuando el Rey Nimrod - traditional Sephardic song in Ladino xviii. ¿Qu'es de ti desconsolado? - Juan del Encina (1468-1529/30) xix. Sonata detta la Moderna - Salamone Rossi (c.1570-1630) xx. Mareta, mareta, no'm faces plorar - traditional Catalonian lullaby Tracks (i), (ii), (v) and (xx) were inspired by recordings made by Yaniv d'Or and Ensemble NAYA on their CD "Exaltation". -------------------------------------- Programme: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A67ebacec-5903-4b19-ba73-68b4de67c0ce Performance took place on May 7th 2019 in the chapel of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
bottom of page