New Music from the Rome Ghetto

Yotam Haber
Friday, May 20, 2011 - 8:00pm
Location: 
Valley Beth Shalom 15739 Ventura Boulevard Encino, CA

The program, following the Shabbat Evening service officiated by Rabbi Joshua Hoffman, Cantor Phil Baron and the Valley Beth Shalom Congregational Choir under the direction of Dr. Noreen Green, will feature the American premiere of Mr. Haber’s song cycle “death will come and she shall have your eyes” for mezzo-soprano, 15 strings and archival audio tape (2008). This work explores the ancient music of the Roman Jewish community in a modern voice, combining biblical texts, modern poetry by Italian and American poets, and the notorious 1555 Papal Bull by Paul IV, “Cum Nimis Absurdum.”  There is no charge to attend this event.

it will be performed by mezzo-soprano Rose Beattie and members of the UCLA Philharmonia, conducted by UCLA Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies Neal Stulberg. (A podcast interview with Mr. Haber about the work may be found at http://tabletmag.com/audio/podcast_feature1755.mp3)

The noted Israeli-American composer Yotam Haber will be in residence at UCLA May 17-21, 2011 for performances of his music, lectures about his research and discussions with students. The residence will feature the American premiere of Mr. Haber’s song cycle “death will come and she shall have your eyes” for mezzo-soprano, 15 strings and archival audio tape (2008). The residency is co-sponsored by The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA Hillel, UCLA Mickey Katz Chair in Jewish Music, UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA Center for Israel Studies, Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles, Doretta and Jona Goldrich/Goldrich Family Foundation and Italian Cultural Institute. 

Highlights of his residency will include:

• Performance of “Espresso” (2004) by the UCLA Wind Ensemble at its Wednesday, May 18 Schoenberg Hall concert

UCLA Wind Ensemble with Timothy Salzman

Guest Conductors William Plenk, Courtney D. Jones, Timothy Salzman
James Miller, Trombone

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
8:00 pm, Schoenberg Hall, Schoenberg Music Building

Guest Conductor Timothy Salzman is the Conductor of Wind Ensembles at the University of Washington.

UCLA Trombone Professor James Miller will perform as Guest Soloist on John Mackey's "Harvest: Trombone Concerto."

Performance will include works by John Mackey, Yotam Haber and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Tickets: $12, $5 UCLA faculty, staff and students (with ID)

Tickets may be purchased to all events through the UCLA Central Ticket Office (310) 825-2101 or at the door.  Parking for Schoenberg Hall is in Lot 2, next to the Westholme/Hilgard kiosk and entrance.

• American premiere of “Death will come and she shall have your eyes” on a Thursday, May 19 chambermusic@ucla concert at Schoenberg Hall entitled “Ancient Echoes; Modern Sounds.” The concert will also feature a performance of Steve Reich’s “Different Trains” for string quartet and tape (1988).

 

Here are Neal Stulberg's remarks about the event on Thursday, May, 19th:

 

"Dear Friends,

 
It is my pleasure to invite you to "Ancient Echoes/Modern Sounds," a very special UCLA chamber ensemble concert featuring the music of two contemporary 
American composers -- Steve Reich (b. 1936) and Yotam Haber (b. 1977) 8 PM Thursday, May 19, 2011 at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall.  
 
The concert will consist of two works:  Steve Reich's iconic "Different Trains" for string quartet and tape (1988) and the American premiere of Yotam Haber's "Death will come and she shall have your eyes" for mezzo-soprano, fifteen strings and archival audio tape (2008).  Both are highly original and evocative works reflecting powerfully on ancient and contemporary Jewish experience.
 
"Different Trains" proceeds from the premise that, as a young child, the composer frequently travelled across the United States by train to visit his separated parents, while in Europe, trains transported Jews to concentration camps.  Reich writes:
 
"The basic idea is that carefully chosen speech recordings generate the musical materials for musical instruments.
 
While the trips were exciting and romantic at the time, I now look back and think that, if I had been in Europe during this period, as a Jew I would have had to ride very different trains. With this in mind I wanted to make a piece that would accurately reflect the whole situation. In order to prepare the tape I did the following:
  1. Record my governess Virginia, then in her seventies, reminiscing about our train trips together.
  2. Record a retired Pullman porter, Lawrence Davis, then in his eighties, who used to ride lines between New York and Los Angeles, reminiscing about his life.
  3. Collect recordings of Holocaust survivors Rachella, Paul and Rachel, all about my age and then living in America – speaking of their experiences.
  4. Collect recorded American and European train sounds of the ‘30s and ‘40s.
In order to combine the taped speech with the string instruments, I selected small speech samples that are more or less clearly pitched and then notated them as accurately as possible in musical notation. 
 
The strings then literally imitate that speech melody. The speech samples as well as the train sounds were transferred to tape with the use of sampling keyboards and a computer. Three separate string quartets are also added to the pre-recorded tape and the final live quartet part is added in performance. 
 
The piece thus presents both a documentary and a musical reality and begins a new musical direction."
 
Yotam Haber is an immensely gifted young Israeli-American composer who will be in residence with us at UCLA during the week of the concert.  He is a recipient of fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Bogliasco and ASCAP Foundations, and commissions from the American Composers Orchestra and American Composers Forum, among others.  He has been in residence at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, Bellagio Center, MacDowell Colony, Aaron Copland House, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Yaddo creative artist community, and at the American Academy of Rome as recipient of the 2007-2008 Frederic A. Juilliard/ Walter Damrosch Rome Prize.  He is currently artistic director of MATA, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and presenting works by young composers from around the world.  
 
"Death will come" is a song cycle for string orchestra, voice and archival recordings of cantors from the Great Synagogue of Rome.  It explores the ancient music of the Roman Jewish community in a modern voice, combining biblical texts, modern poetry by Italian and American poets, as well as the notorious 1555 Papal Bull by Pope Paul IV, Cum Nimis Absurdum.  Our mezzo-soprano soloist will be Rose Beattie, a wonderful young singer and recent UCLA DMA graduate.  (A podcast interview with Mr. Haber about the work may be found at http://tabletmag.com/audio/podcast_feature1755.mp3)
 
Yotam Haber will speak with the audience before our performance; his "Espresso" will also be featured on a UCLA Wind Ensemble concert 8 PM Wednesday, May 18, and "Death will come" will be repeated in a concert sponsored by the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles at Congregation Valley Beth Shalom Friday evening, May 20 at 9:00 PM.
 
Tickets for the concert (
$12 general admission, $5 UCLA and non-UCLA students with ID; $5 UCLA staff and faculty) 
may be obtained via the UCLA Central Ticket Office (www.tickets.ucla.edu; 310-825-2101) or at the door.
 
I hope you will plan to join us Thursday, May 19 for this unique and powerful evening of contemporary music!
 
Neal Stulberg
Professor/Director of Orchestral Studies
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music"

Tickets for this event:   Thursday, May 19, 2011
8:00pm
SCHOENBERG HALL
UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90024
TICKETS
$12 general admission $5 UCLA and non-UCLA students with ID $5 UCLA staff and faculty Tickets may be purchased through the UCLA Central Ticket Office (www.tickets.ucla.edu; 310-825-2101) or at the door.
Parking is available for $10 at UCLA Lot #2 at the corner of Westholme and Hilgard.

• Encore performance of “Death will come and she shall have your eyes” at 8 PM on Friday evening, May 20 at Congregation Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, CA 91436.  There is no charge for this event.

Mr. Haber is a recipient of fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Bogliasco and ASCAP Foundations, and commissions from the American Composers Orchestra and American Composers Forum, among others. He has been in residence at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, Bellagio Center, MacDowell Colony, Aaron Copland House, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Yaddo creative artist community, and at the American Academy of Rome as recipient of the 2007-2008 Frederic A. Juilliard/ Walter Damrosch Rome Prize. He is currently artistic director of MATA, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and presenting works by young composers from around the world.

We look forward to welcoming Mr. Haber to our community for this exciting and stimulating residency.

UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, in collaboration with the Italian Culture Institute, the Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA Hillel, the UCLA School of Music, the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles, and others, plans to sponsor a group of events around the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification and the roles of Jews. The Yotam Haber event will serve as a “kick-off” event for the 2011 anniversary year. Other events are: the planned exhibition from the Primo Levi Center on Jews and Italian Unification and a one-day academic symposium and celebration in October, held jointly at UCLA and ICI. Thus, there will be an arc of three events, spaced throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Program: 

 

Music from the Rome Ghetto:

Yotam Haber’s “Death will come and she shall have your eyes” (2008)

 

Rose Beattie, mezzo-soprano

Members of UCLA Philharmonia

Neal Stulberg, conductor

 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Valley Beth Shalom

Encino, CA

 

Sponsored by the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles

 

I.           CUM NIMIS ABSURDUM

II.         Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi

III.         Loan

IV.         BERESHÌT

V.         HALLELUYÀH

 

Members of UCLA Philharmonia

 


Violin I

Boryana Popova, concertmaster

Mai Kurosawa

Richard Silvers

Margaret Wu

 

Violin II

Pablo Hopenhayn, principal

Elliott Ephrati

Connor Vance

Dorothy Wang

 

Viola

Paula Karolak, principal

Ben Bartelt

Daniel Stephens

 

Cello

Phoebe Ping, principal

Kendall Fisher

Kimberly Maher

 

Bass

Ian Sharp


 

Special thanks to Ethan Braun, audio engineer; Perla Karney, Artistic Director

Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts at UCLA Hillel; and Richard Braun, Chairman, Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles


 

Program notes

 

This song-cycle for string orchestra, voice, and archival recordings from the 1950s of cantors from the Tempio Maggiore in Rome (made by the ethnomusicologist Leo Levi, to whom I am indebted) explores the ancient music of the Roman Jewish community in a modern voice, combining biblical texts, modern poetry by Italian and American poets, as well as the notorious 1555 Papal Bull by Paul IV, Cum Nimis Absurdum.

 

The first movement, CUM NIMIS ABSURDUM, begins with a setting of the opening text of the papal bull, with furious, vicious string-writing. The singer begins with sharply dissonant, quartertone pitches, but as the movement progresses, the melody changes to an old Roman Jewish melody for Bayyamim Hahem – sung during Tishà Beàv. Though she sings the Latin text of the bull, the original words to the melody (translated from Hebrew) are:

 

In those days, at that time, in the first month, that is the month of Nisan, on the fourteenth

day of the month, Menachem, the son of Amiel, shall suddenly come; his goodness shall bloom in the valley of Arbel, and he shall wear on his body garments of revenge.

 

The second half of the movement shifts in tone from bitterness to sadness, and we hear Echa Ahuvim from the Book of Lamentations sung to a Roman Jewish melody.

 

Though the second movement is primarily a setting of a Cesare Pavese poem, Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi, we first hear a Leo Levi recording of a Roman cantor singing Psalm 91, a sort of protective “amulet psalm” expressing a God’s unflagging providential protection. The orchestra is playing the same tune, each player on his own time, like a synagogue full of worshippers, together yet alone. Meanwhile, the mezzo-soprano is singing quietly Pavese’s words as a duet to the recording, She finishes the movement with the first stanza of his poem, sung in Hebrew (translated by Leo Levi in 1971).

 

The third movement is a setting of Jorie Graham’s poem, Loan. It is a torrent of words, and for me, a fragile yet powerful poem of hope and reconciliation that encapsulates ideas of forgiveness and healing.

 

In the beginning of the fourth movement we hear a Leo Levi recording of a Roman cantor singing the first few lines of Genesis, while the orchestra punctuates the melody with insistent repeated notes – punctuating his words. Only as he is coming to a close does the mezzo-soprano interject with the second stanza of Cesare Pavese’s poem, once again sung in Hebrew to the same melody used for the recitation of Genesis.

 

The fifth movement begins with a fragment from Psalm 111, psalm of thanksgiving, and it is set with a peaceful, serene Roman melody. The orchestra does not interfere but rather supports and cushions the singer’s words. From a kaleidoscope of whirring string harmonics emerges an archival recording of the sounding of the Shofar at the Tempio Maggiore of Rome in the early 1950s. When it ends, we hear the end of Pavese’s poem, sung to a melody we heard fragmented  in the harsh first movement, now transformed into a graceful, even, serene finish to the cycle.

 

My gratitude to the American Academy in Rome, Walter Brunetto, archivist at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Dr. Kenneth Stow, Professor of Jewish History, Haifa University; Don Harran, Professor in the Department of Musicology at Hebrew University; Marisa Patulli Trythall; and Yaala Levi, daughter of Leo Levi.

 

This work is in five movements, played without pause.

 

- Yotam Haber

 


 

Biographies

 

 

Yotam Haber, 33, was born in Holland and is a citizen of Israel and the United States. He grew up in Milwaukee, and attended Indiana University, studying with Eugene O’Brienand Claude Baker. He completed a doctorate in composition at Cornell Universityin 2004, studying with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. He spent 2000 in Bologna, Italy, as part of the Course on Use of Live Electronics, taught by Alvise Vidolin(Luigi Nono’s sound engineer) and the composer Adriano Guarnieri. He received a 2002 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awardfor his chamber orchestra work, In Sleep a King, and one in 2004 for his double clarinet quintet, Blur. In 2004, he also won the second bi-annual ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prizefor the wind ensemble work, Espresso, which was performed at Carnegie Hallby Rutgers Wind Ensemble, directed by William Berz, and consequently recorded for release in the fall of 2006. He has been a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center(studying with George Benjamin and Osvaldo Golijov), the Aspen Music Festival(studies with Chris Rouse and Nicholas Maw), and been in residence at the Aaron Copland House, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. His music has been performed in Germany, Italy, Holland, and across the U.S. Haber currently resides in New York City and Rome and is a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow.

 

Haber received the 2007-2008 Frederic A. Juilliard/ Walter Damrosch Rome Prize and resided at the American Academy in Romefor a year beginning in September 2007. He has recently been commissioned by architect Peter Zumthor and his wife Annalisato compose two works for premiere in Vals, Switzerland, 2009. From the American Composers Forumand the Jerome Composers Commissioning Program, he received a commission to write for MAYA.

 

Haber is the newly appointed artistic director of MATA, the non-profit organization that has, for the past thirteen years, been dedicated to commissioning and presenting works by young composers from around the world.

 

 

 

Mezzo-soprano Rose Beattiegrew up in Edgewood, WA and moved to Los Angeles to attend the USC Thornton School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She has since completed her DMA degree at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

In 2009, Ms. Beattie sang Hippolyta in Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as a guest artist at the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program and Santuzza in Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” with Lyric Opera Northwest.  She has been sponsored by the International Festival Society to sing with the TOP Opera in Austria.  Other opera credits include Madame Flora in Menotti’s “The Medium,” Principesa in Puccini’s “Suor Angelica,” Dorabella in Mozart’s “Così fan tutte,” Mercedes in Bizet’s “Carmen” and Fate in the premiere of Ian Krouse’s “Lorca, Child of the Moon.”

As a concert soloist in Los Angeles, Ms. Beattie most recently performed Wagner’s “Wesendonk Lieder,” Jake Heggie’s “Statuesque,” and Berlioz’s “Les Nuits d’Eté.”  Rose’s Los Angeles Master Chorale solos include Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Grapes of Wrath,” and in December 2009, Handel’s “Messiah.”

As a student, Ms. Beattie was chosen as an “All-Star” concerto soloist at UCLA, received a Los Angeles Young Artist of the Future Competition finalist award and a USC Excellence and Leadership Award.  She also taught six UCLA courses, including “The Construction of Women in Western Opera,” an interdisciplinary course she created.

 

 

Heralded by the Los Angeles Times as ". . .a shining example of podium authority and musical enlightenment," Neal Stulberg garners consistent international acclaim for performances of clarity, insight and conviction. 

 

In North America, Mr. Stulberg has led the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, National, New Jersey, New World, Pacific, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Utah and Vancouver symphonies, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among others.  He is a recipient of the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, America's most coveted conducting prize, and has served as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Carlo Maria Giulini and music director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.

 

Mr. Stulberg's European career was launched in September 1997 when he stepped in on short notice to conduct the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a program of Bartok and Kodaly.  He was immediately re-engaged by that orchestra to conduct on the prestigious VARA series in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and has subsequently appeared in Holland with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, North Holland Philharmonic, Gelders Orchestra, Netherlands Ballet Orchestra and Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam.  Engagements in Germany include the WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln and the orchestras of Augsburg, Bochum, Dortmund, Herford, Freiburg, Muenster, Nürnberg, Oldenburg and Rostock.  In September 2000 he made his Scandinavian debut with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and subsequently led performances with the Athens State Orchestra, London Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Barcelona Liceu Orchestra and Norwegian National Opera Orchestra.  

 

A frequent guest conductor in Asia, Israel and Russia, Mr. Stulberg has appeared with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Korea Philharmonic (KBS), Taipei Symphony, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Israel Sinfonietta, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and Moscow Chamber Orchestra, among others.  In July 1999 he made his Australian debut, conducting the Queensland, Adelaide and West Australian symphonies and in November 2002 led debut performances with the Mexico City Philharmonic.

 

Neal Stulberg is also an acclaimed pianist, appearing regularly as recitalist, chamber musician and with major orchestras and at international festivals as pianist/conductor.  His performances of Mozart concertos conducted from the keyboard are uniformly praised for their buoyant virtuosity and interpretive vigor.

 

Mr. Stulberg has given premieres of works by Steve Reich, Dmitri Smirnov, Joan Tower, Peter Schat and Peter van Onna, led the period-instrument orchestra Philharmonia Baroque in a festival of Mozart orchestral and operatic works,  and has brought to life several silent movies from the early 1900s, including the Russian classic New Babylon, Shostakovich's first film score.  In 2001, he conducted Philip Glass' opera Akhnaten at the Rotterdam Festival and Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face with Long Beach Opera in Los Angeles.  He has recorded for West German Radio, Donemus and the Composers Voice label.

 

A native of Detroit, Mr. Stulberg is a graduate of Harvard College, the University of Michigan and the Juilliard School.  He studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, piano with Leonard Shure, Theodore Lettvin, William Masselos and Mischa Kottler, and viola with Ara Zerounian.  He currently serves as Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Director of Chamber Music at the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute of the Crossroads School in Santa Monica.