Mechaye Hametim - Revival of the Dead (1985)

Revival of the Dead
Wiederbelebung der Toten
For Symphony Orchestra, Tenor, Bass-Baritone, Mens Choir & Boys Choir (52’)

This work was commissioned by the Dutch-Jew Bernard Bronkhorst as a monument in sound to the victims of the Holocaust and to the builders of Israel. The title is taken from the Eighteen Blessing of Hebrew liturgy: Blessed be Thou, who revives the Dead. The music incorporates melodies of traditional prayers and tunes in a manner balanced between documentary quotation and composition. It is essentially a symphonic work in four movements based on a single theme, the Judaica theme, which is developed organically, spreading, like a tree, with branches extending into each of the four movements.

World Premiere:
3rd, May 1987, Amsterdam
by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under David Porcelijn
soloists: Joseph Malovany, Tenor
Liewe Visser, bass baritone The Radio Choir of Hilversum
The Toelzer Knabenchor.

Next performance:
New York debut in Carnegie Hall, 25.10.2012, IPO, Thomas Hampson, Carl Hieger, Collegiate Chorale, Zubin Mehta.

quote A New Faith in Classical Music
Noam Sheriff's brilliantly conceived choral symphony "Mechaye Hametim" ("Revival of the Dead"), written in 1985 and centering on the Holocaust. The concert was greeted warmly, even clamorously, by an almost full house.
Mr. Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic should consider taking the splendid Schoenberg- Sheriff program to New York City, where another audience sure to be receptive awaits, festival or no. The chorus, after all, is already there. quote

New York Times, James R. Oestreich, 25/07/2012 (front page)

quote Even Noam Sheriff in his "revival of the dead" returns to ancient texts, which he surrounds with a tone gown of Western European music and Jewish tradition . The demand is enormous: The History of the Jews in the Diaspora, the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel is reflected in the multi-layered score, powerful tone outbursts, delicate passages, rhythmic and energetic accents - looks a little colorful sometimes, but everything is tight, expressive composed and still transparent. quote

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Gerhard Rohde, 07/28/2012

quote Shining fortissimo tribute.
In the monumental Cantata like-Symphony "Mechaye Hametim" one could witness two exceptionally expressive and powerful soloists.
Even Noam Sheriff's colorful, sometimes illustrative, sometimes almost incredibly clarifying, finally ending in roaring Hallelujah orchestral symphony took dedication and all the emphasis, intensity, display power of the soloists to make an impression of strength and faith healing triumph. quote

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Harald Eggebrecht, 28./29.07.2012

quote Refined moments of sacred symphonic
Noam Sheriff's "Mechaye Hametim" has demonstrated in a very elegant way the fusion of various elements. The clear and sovereign Israel Philharmonic Orchestra had implemented passages of subtle beauty which slipped into dark dissonances.
Sheriff also skillfully alternates between intimate and opulent orchestration. Skillfully, the integration of cantors singing and its integration with vocal masses. This leads to specific layers - for example, when the speaker parts of Hieger and Thomas Hampson are surrounded by the choir. quote

THE STANDARD, Ljubiša Tošić, 07/26/2012

quote Enthusiastically jumped up from their seats
Main work of the evening was "Mechaye Hametim" (revival the dead) by the Israeli composer and conductor Noam Sheriff. With a strong symbolic music association Sheriff associated traditional prayers and melodies to a four-movement symphony. His musical language is rooted in the Jewish and the Western tradition and is in a way universal, which may explain out the immediate emotional understanding of the public who enthusiastically jumped from their seats. quote

Upper Austrian News, Michael Wruss, 26/07/2012

quote Sheriff is one of the leading composers and conductors of Israel
His symphony for soloists, chorus and orchestra "Mechaye Hametim" (The Revival of the Dead), premiered in 1987 in Amsterdam, was at the center of the concert by the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in the context of the "spiritual overture." The 77 year old took the "standing ovations" of the enthusiastic audience in the Felsenreitschule excited and emotionally moved.
... Impressively, he combines synagogal, Klezmer and moderate Western avant-garde techniques into his musical language. The huge orchestra with lots of percussion is equally balanced by voluminous men's and children's choir. With back-stage trumpets and in-the-auditorium positioned trombones impressed the anthemic Hallelujah finale. quote

Salzburg's culture newspaper on the Internet, Gottfried Francis Kasparek, 26/07/2012

quote In the center of the opening concert was Noam Sheriff's "Mechaye Hametim," a large-scale vocal symphony, from the year 1985. ..sheriff used tonal and atonal elements, archaic fanfares, but also angelic children's choir. Especially "The Holocaust" movement is a compositional mastery: Rugged brass signals tell of impending danger, a Yiddish folk song penetrate Marsh-shreds, outbursts of orchestra and Choir. So subtle and oppressive can the genocide be described in sounds. A standing ovation after a thrilling concert hour. quote

SVZ, Florian Oberhummer, 26/07/2012

quote ...the audience at the end of this great concert expressed his reaction, and rightly so, in standing ovations for the recently discovered Israeli composer. This great symphonic sacred work tells the story of the Jewish people in just a musical hour. ... "Mechaye Hametim" is never banal or overloaded and always with sense of good taste. A refreshingly vibrant symphony, brimming great thematic ideas and sonority has fallen on the Salzburg unprepared audience. The endless standing ovations were given clearly for Noam Sheriff. quote

APA, Christoph Lindenbauer 07/25/2012

quote A real event was the work "Mechaye Hametim" by the composer Noam Sheriff. .. A touching often evocative Jewish work.
Standing ovation for everyone, especially for Noam Sheriff. quote

Courier, Peter Jarolin, 07/26/2012

quote Standing Ovations for Sheriff
Huge success for the work of the Israeli composer Noam Sheriff in "Overture spiritual." quote

New Voralsberger newspaper, 26/07/2012

quote Poem a l’humanite ...Cyclopeen...Flamboyant...Une heure durant, la riche etoffe de ses quatre mouvements se deroule sans que la tension ne se relave un seul instant... quote

La Libre Belgique/Paule Tran

quote In the penultimate concert of its current Barbican series, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conserved most of its energy for the British premiere of Noam Sheriff’s Mechaye Hamethim...This piece composed with palpable sincerity, with a sense of horror and, in its final movement, glorification of the Deity... quote

The Daily Telegraph/Geoffrey Norris

quote ...From the opening bars until the final "Hallelujah" Sheriff demonstrates that the evocation of the Jewish experience is not the prerogative of the written word, canvas or carving. Music has a central role in projecting Jewish life, and with Mechaye Hamethim, the void that has existed since Schoenberg’s "A survivor from Warsaw" may now be filled. quote

Jewish Chronicle, London/David Sonin

quote Noam Sheriff hat die Vorgaben erfuellt: Sein werk ist durchrungen von juedischer Musikgeschichte, aber auch von westeuropaeischer, vorsichtig avangardistischer Tradition. quote

Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung/Ellen Kohlhaas

quote ...ein Gesamtkunstwerk geschaffen, dessen Qualitaet ihm einen Platz in den Konzertsaelen sichern wird. ... Die Musik ist von ausserordentlicher manchmal schmerzender Intensitaet, von deutlichem Symbolgehalt und von einer klaren Aussage... quote

Frankfurter Rundschau/Klaus K. Fueller