Each piece from this body of work is inspired by a specific quote or quotes from the works of respective Jewish philosophers who all lived in Europe during the Holocaust. Each piece calls for one soloist (representative of the philosopher’s unique voice) and electronic accompaniment.
Buber: Encounter takes its inspiration from Martin Buber’s I and Thou:
“When I confront a human being as my You and speak the basic word I- You to him, then he is no thing among things nor does he consist of things. He is no longer He or She, limited by other Hes and Shes, a dot in the world grid of space and time, nor a condition that can be experienced and described, a loose bundle of named qualities. Neighborless and seamless, he is You and fills the firmament.”
double bass, electronics
Levinas: The Prophetic Word comes from multiple quotes by Emmanuel Levinas but is centered around the idea of the prophetic word:
“Pious thoughts and generous words I hear you say, I know that we can no longer believe in words! For we can no longer speak in this tormented world, we can no longer speak. For no one can begin his discourse without immediately bearing witness to something other than what he says. By denouncing mystification, they already seem to re-mystify. We, the monotheists, we break the spell; we break words that shake themselves free of their distorting context. We speak words that begin in the person who utters them, we rediscover the word that penetrates, the word that unties, the prophetic word.”
Heschel: Revelation takes its quote from a compilation of Abraham Heschel’s works, Between God and Man:
“In our own lives the voice of God speaks slowly, a syllable at a time. Reaching the peak of years, dispelling some of our intimate illusions and learning how to spell the meaning of life-experiences backwards, some of us discover how the scattered syllables form a single phrase.”