Illumination - Early Jewish-italian Spiritual Musi
Ensemble Bet Hagat; Occhionero, Mauro; Harel, Yaïr; Akiva, Daniel; Silberberg, Adi
‘Illumination’ comprises examples of rare musical and cultural gems which were nearly lost after the Holocaust ravaged Italian-Jewish religious and cultural life. Many of the traditional Italian- Jewish ‘piyyutim’ (Hebrew spiritual/liturgical songs and poems) performed here remain widely unknown in concert halls and to the general public. The Jewish and Christian Italian cultures of the Renaissance and Baroque period were at once separate and also intricately connected, and synagogue music itself has always adapted and reflected contemporary- ostensibly unrelated melodies and styles. It was thus a natural step to present works from the early spiritual music of Jewish Italy (all whose texts were in use as early as from 1600 and even before) seen through the prism of the prevalent musical styles of the same period in which Salamone Rossi and Benedetto Marcello’s own important synagogue-based works were created: the Renaissance and Baroque periods. As specialists in early Italian music, this involved interpreting which contemporary styles of music predominant outside of the ghetto in Italy at the time were likely reflected in the Jewish works (which would themselves have been performed- during synagogue services- vocally only). The task of reviving these pieces and presenting them in the fuller context of the Italian culture that they inhabited was fascinating, as the works revealed themselves in their unique beauty and spirit.