Gomel Le'Ish Chassid (A Hassid's Reward) (1996)

For Bass-Clarinet and String Orchestra

Gomel Le'Ish Hassid - "a Hassid's reward" is, in a way a reflection on Martin Buber's writings on the Hassidic movement. There is a knowledge to be gained combined with a certain purification of the soul through a state of ecstasy. Only a perfect unity of soul and body can bring this very specific state of spiritual ecstasy . The real "Kleizmer" with his instrument is looking in both directions. There is the meditative section pulsating towards the dance-like rhythmical section which leads back to a state which is beyond physical ecstasy. In simple words, the Kleizmer is trying to accomplish two impossible tasks. First, to bring his ecstasy to a point where the music is not sufficient and second, to meditate with his instrument in such a way that one cannot tell anymore if there is any physical sound coming out of the instrument at all or it is purely the thinking about the melody which makes us believe that we hear anything at all.

I have chosen for this work the bass-clarinet because of its big range, variety of shadings and colors, especially in the higher register which has not yet been explored in its entirety. For me it’s an ideal instrument to illustrate the metaphorical element of the Kleizmer.

Noam Sheriff