holidays


O bucurie in plus a acestui anotimp de sarbatori este aparitia la casa de discuri MediaPro Music a CD-ului cu colinde romanesti ‘O, ce veste minunata!’ al Angelei Gheorghiu. Este un eveniment muzical de prima importanta nu numai pentru diva noastra nationala ci si pentru genul foarte bine reprezentat in magazinele de muzica si cadouri de sezon din toata lumea al cantecelor de Craciun, eveniment care nu a trecut neobservat de criticii lumii, o cronica foarte favorabila aparand in cea mai prestigioasa revista a iubitorilor de muzica ‘Gramophone’ sub semnatura lui Jon Tolanski – http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/angela-gheorghiu-releases-album-of-romanian-christmas-carols. Este genul de cronica care poate asigura o lansare si o frunoasa cariera internationala a CD-ului. In Romania el deja a obtinut Discul de Aur la o luna dupa lansare, si un Concert Festiv de Craciun la Sala Radio, precum si transmisiile la Radio Romania ii pot numai spori popularitatea. Am avut sansa sa cumpar discul la Carturesti in vizita mea la Bucuresti de la sfarsitul lui noiembrie si sa mi-l adaug colectiei de muzica apropiata sufletului meu.

 

source activenews.ro

source activenews.ro

 

Inregistrarile au fost facute in septembrie 2013 in Sala Radio din Bucuresti si in Studioul ISV. Angela Gheorghiu este acompaniata de Orchestra Nationala Radio dirijata de Tiberiu Soare, de corul Madrigal (care a sarbatorit in acest an 50 de ani de activitate) si de Corul Accoustic. Aranjamentele muzicale ale cantecelor populare sau apartinand unor compozitori romani din diferite perioade apartin lui Dan Dediu, Cristian Lolea si Constantin Arvinte.

 

(audio source MediaProMusic)

 

(audio source MediaProMusic)

 

(audio source Gabriela Dragoi)

 

Buna dimineata cu Mos Ajun si Mos Craciun al lui Dimitrie G. Kiriac ne introduc in atmosfera de sarbatoare. Trei crai de la rasarit este primul din cele sase cantece traditionale repovestind in frumosul limbaj al satului romanesc povestea Bunei Vestiri. Urmeaza Leganelul lui Iisus (sau Florile Dalbe a lui Valentin Teodorian) si Inchinarea pastorilor (traditional) care dezvolta aceeasi tema. Steaua sus rasare si Oce veste minunata sunt slagare eterne din repertoriul de sezon al traditiei romanesti. Inca o versiune din Florile Dalbe, cea a lui Tiberiu Popovici incepe cu o frumoasa tema rapsodica imbinata cu sunet de clopot, este poate cea mai frumoasa orchestratie a discului. Nasterea Domnului (Minune prea mare) de Paul Constantinescu este cea mai lunga si mai complexa piesa de pe disc si totusi se incadreaza bine melodic cu ansamblul. La Vitleem colo-n jos (traditional dar cu o orchestratie sofisticata si interesanta) si scurta Colindita de Emil Montia incheie regalul intr-o atmosfera exuberanta si sarbatoreasca.

Despre calitatile vocale exceptionale ale Angelei Gheorghiu nu este nevoie sa scriu. Ceea ce vreau sa remarc este respectul si vibratia sincera cu care artista abordeaza repertoriul traditional. In niciun moment nu se simte diva, ceea ce auzim este o cantareata intr-o forma de zile mari care lucreaza in perfecta armonie cu o orchestra si cu corurile, si care adauga fiecaruia dintre cantece vibratie si sentiment. Cu acest CD traditia romaneasca are o sansa sa intre si sa o ocupe un loc de cinste alaturi de alte reusite ale genului, sa incalzeasca caminele nu numai ale romanilor ci si ale iubitorilor de muzica de sarbatoare din intreaga lume.

Succes si Sarbatori Fericite!

 

 

 

An extra joy in this holiday season is provided by the launching by the label MediaPro Music of a CD with Romanian carols ‘Oh, what wonderful news’ sung Angela Gheorghiu . It is a musical event of the first importance not only for the Romanian diva but also for the genre of the Christmas songs well represented in music stores and gifts stores from around the world. The event has not gone unnoticed by musical critics, and a very favorable chronic appeared in the prestigious journal of the music lovers ‘Gramophone’ under the signature of Jon Tolanski -http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/angela-gheorghiu-releases-album-of-romanian-christmas-carols. It’s the kind of chronic that can mean the start of a nice international career for the  CD. In Romania the already has already achieved Gold Record status just one month after launching, and a festive Christmas Concert Hall Radio and repeated broadcasts at Radio Romania can only enhance its popularity . I had the chance to buy the disc in a bookstore during my visit to Bucharest by the end of November and I added it to that section of my music collection that stands closest to my heart.

 

source activenews.ro

source activenews.ro

 

The recordings were made in September 2013 in the Radio Hall in Bucharest and at the ISV Studios. Angela Gheorghiu is accompanied by the National Radio Orchestra conducted by Tiberiu Soare, by the Madrigal choir (which this year celebrated 50 years of activity) and by the Accoustic Choir. The musical arrangements of popular songs or belonging to Romanian composers from different periods belong to Dan Dediu, Cristian Constantin, and Lolea Arvinte .

 

(audio source MediaProMusic)

 

(audio source MediaProMusic)

 

(audio source Gabriela Dragoi)
Buna Dimineata la Mos Ajun (Good Morning on Santa’s Eve) and Mos Craciun (Santa) by Dimitrie G. Kiriac open introducing us in the mood for celebration . Trei Crai de la Rasarit (Three Magi from the East) is the first of the six traditional songs, retelling the story of the Annunciation in the beautiful language of the Romanian village. Leganelul lui Iisus (Jesus’ Small Craddle) (or Florile Dalbe – White Flowers – by Valentin Teodorian ) and the traditional Inchinarea pastorilor (Sheppphers Worship) develop the same theme. Steaua sus rasare (The Star Rises Above) and O, ce veste minunata (What A Wonderful News) belong to the eternal seasonal repertoire in the Romanian tradition. Another version of Florile Dalbe (White Flowers) composed by Tiberiu Popovici begins with a rhapsodic theme combined with beautiful bell sounds and offers perhaps the most beautiful orchestration of the disc. Nasterea Domnului (Nativity of the Lord) by Paul Constantinescu is the longest and most complex song on the disc , yet fits well with the overall atmosphere. La Vileem colo jos (Down there in Bethlehem ( again a traditional song, but enriched with a sophisticated and interesting orchestration) and the short Colinda (Carol) by Emil Montia conclude the disk in a exuberant atmosphere of celebration.

About Angela Gheorghiu’s exceptional vocal qualities I do not need to write. What I notice is the respect and the vibrant emotion with which the artist approaches the traditional repertoire. At no moment we can feel the diva, what we hear is a singer in a great shape who works in perfect harmony with the orchestra and chorus, adding vibrancy and deep feelings to each of the songs. With this CD precious jewels of the Romanian tradition have a chance to enter and take a place of honor alongside other succesesl of the genre, to heat not only the households of the Romanians but enriching also the celebrations of music lovers worldwide.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

After many years I renewed this season my subscription at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. An announcement received yesterday inspired me for the theme to pick for this Sukkot holiday. A change in program brings in the first concert of the new season the ‘Ouverture on Hebrew Themes’ by Prokofiev. I searched for it, as I did not know it, and then for some of the pieces of music inspired by the Jewish tradition (and by tradition I mean musical tradition as well) and here are a few of the gems I found.

 

(video source Raniero Tazzi)

 

First, here is the piece that triggered my search. Sergei Profofiev’s Ouverture on Hebrew Themes played by the Brodsky Quartet.

 

(video source goturhjem2)

 

I also found a splendid piece by Shostakovich which I did not know – the Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67. Here is it’s story as it appears on the youTube page:

Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67, is remarkable for a number of reasons. It was written in 1944, just after his Symphony No. 8, with which it shares its overall structure; it is a lamentation for both Shostakovich’s close friend, musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky, and the victims of the Holocaust, the news of which horror did not reach the U.S.S.R. until the liberation of the camps began; and it is his first work to employ a “Jewish theme,” a musical tribute that used the scales and rhythms of Jewish folk music as Shostakovich knew it.

The interpretation belongs to the Borodin Quartet.

 

(video source Alexander Rosenblatt)

 

Pianist and composer Alexander Rosenblatt authored a Fantasia on Theme in Jewish Style for two pianos. Here he is playing it together with Oleg Sinkin.

 

(video source Wellesz and Co)

 

In my teens years I had the chance to see Aaron Copland conducting in Bucharest. I now discovered a beautiful piece inspired by the Jewish tradition of Eastern Europe called Vitebsk. This version belongs to the Niew Amsterdam Trio.

 

(video source Gerard Vecordia)

 

To end, here is one of the most famous works belonging to this category – Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish symphony. Bernstein conducts this version with the IPO and Montserrat Caballe.

 

source http://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.co.il/2010_07_01_archive.html

source http://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.co.il/2010_07_01_archive.html

 

(illustration – Sukkah meal. Amsterdam, 1722 by Bernard Picart)

 

I hope that you enjoyed these piece of music at least as much as I did.

Hag Sukkot Sameakh! A Happy Sukkot!

 

 

Since I started The Catcher in the Sand I use to mark the Jewish holidays with postings that relate one way or another with the occasion. I decided this time to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year with a posting dedicated to the New Year meal. A joke says that Jews gather on holidays to commemorate the miseries of their past and eat for their remembrance. They may be some truth in the joke, although the New Year does not mark any painful moment in history, excepting the case you believe the Creation was such a moment :-)

I am starting early this year, there is one week left until Rosh Hashanah, but I am going on a vacation starting with tomorrow and I will not have time to deal with the blog, and I need to leave you time to do shopping, learn the recipes, maybe exercise.

 

source http://simple-english-blog.blogspot.co.il/2011/08/blog-post.html

source http://simple-english-blog.blogspot.co.il/2011/08/blog-post.html

 

Our Rosh Hashanah meal always starts with apples and honey for a sweet new year to come.

 

(video source JSpace Food)

 

Rosh Hashanah and Passover are probably the two big eating moments in the festive Jewish calendar. There are a number of shared dishes, but challah (bread for Shabat and other holidays) is certainly not one of them, as it is forbidden during the Passover week. So here is a recipe to prepare round challah.

 

(video source JJTV888)

 

On the other hand gefilte fish is the one dish that seems to work well on any Jewish holiday table.  I will not reveal the recipe of Liliana, this is a family secret even I do not know, but the one above may come second best.

 

(video source Joy Kosher)

 

What about a Warm Salmon Salad?

 

(video source joyofkosher)

 

Chicken and Apples seem a good combination for the the first meaty dish of the evening, combining poultry with the sweet flavors of the holiday. Here is the recipe.

 

(video source joyofkosher)

 

Serious meat eaters may have their treat with a treat of ribs.

 

Wine is part of the pleasure of the Jewish holiday meal. If you want to be on the traditional side and pick a kosher wine try to look at the list of the Top 50 Kosher Wines in the World.

 

(video source Allie’s Kitchen)

 

A honey cake seems to me the best way to end the meal. Here is one from Allie’s Kitchen.

 

I hope that those of you who will use the recipes will find those useful. Use them or not, have a great Rosh HaShanah meal and a great time together with your families.

Shanah Tova! A Happy New Year!

 

For the Israel Independence Day this year I chose to present a cycle of works who have entered already the thesaurus of the Israeli and Zionist artistic mythology. Many of the visitors of the recent exhibition of the works of Salvador Dali in Haifa were surprised to see that one full wall was occupied by what seemed to be a real declaration of love for Israel and the Jewish people, while in the same room other paintings, statues, objects which looked very much like Judaica art completed the image.

 

alyah

 

There have been multiple discussions and interpretations concerning the history of this cycle of 25 prints published first in an edition of 250 copies in 1968. What was the real attitude of Salvador Dali towards the Jews, taking into account that contrary to many of his fellow artists in the surrealist generation he showed sympathy for Hitler and chose to stay and live in Franco’s Spain? Did he change his political views in time? Was he a descendant of the converted Jews keeping in secret his Jewish ascendance?  The answer is maybe simple, but we should avoid to make it simplistic. It’s a commissioned work, ordered and paid by the  Shorewood Publishing and Israel Bonds in 1968 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the State of Israel. And yet there is more than this, because the exploration of the Jewish theme seems to have extended in Dali’s work well beyond this commission. Yes, the market of the Judaica (Jewish traditional) art may have been a lucrative one among the prosperous collectors, many of Jewish origin. The works in this cycle and beyond have however feeling, sensitivity, and I may say a dose of respect which is somehow unexpected from the extravagant artist who did not hesitate to blow artistic and taste conventions.

Let us walk though a few of these works, and try to explain their meaning from the perspective of the Zionist angle. I have used some of the commentaries written by David Blumentahl at http://www.js.emory.edu/BLUMENTHAL/Salvador%20Dali%20Aliyah.htm (You can see there also all the drawings in the cycle)

 

photo-6

 

A few of the first drawings in the cycle connect the reality of present Israel to the historical roots of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. One of these is ‘The Wailing Wall’ - the last reminiscent of the walls of the Second Temple, which is drawn by Dali from photos taken before the War of Independence (there is a large plaza today in front of the Wall, and men and women are not allowed to pray together, at least at this moment in time (there is a whole dispute regarding the enforcement of the Orthodox rules in this place raging today).

 

camps

 

‘Out of the Depth’ takes its title from a verse in the Psalms “Out of the depths have I called unto you, O Lord.” It’s the name of the cantata by Bach and the phrase was used by Martin Buber for a small book of Psalms translated into German and published in Nazi Germany in 1936. The horror of the Holocaust is in the Zionist narrative the very foundation and the ultimate justification of the existence of the national home of the Jewish people.

 

photo-4

 

‘On the Shores of Freedom’  shows one episode of the illegal immigration which in the years after the end of the second world war and the independence of Israel brought to Israel survivors of the Holocaust despite the blockade imposed by the British rulers over Palestine. The name of the ship can be clearly seen, it’s Elyahu Golomb which dates the episode described in the painting in the year 1946.

 

photo-3

 

‘A Moment in History’ processes a famous photograph in which David Ben-Gurion reads the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, on May 15, 1948. Ben-Gurion wears a tie, it is said it was the only time in his life when he wore such a garment. He also seems to have a Dali mustache?

 

photo-5

 

The exultation of the moment of the proclamation of the independence was immediately followed in the historical narrative by the fire of the War of Independence. This is the moment caught by Dali in ‘The Battle of the Jerusalem Hills’.

 

photo-7

 

Victory and celebration are represented by Hatikvah, a visual representation of the national anthem of Israel. The words were written by the Jewish-Polish poet Naphtali Herz Imber during his stay in the Romanian city of Iasi in 1877, and the music is a transcription by Samuel Cohen of a tune popular in Eastern Europe in the second half of the 19th century. Cohen later recalled that he had heard first the tune in the Romanian variant – Carul cu boi [The Ox Driven Cart] (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatikvah). The same tune inspired the opening of the very popular symphonic poem Vltava by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana

 

photo-2

 

Commission or not, Salvador Dali created a series of work which are among the best in the Jewish and national Israeli imagery. I will let Blumenthal speak again (source http://forward.com/articles/136676/dali-and-the-jews/):

As for the “Aliyah” series, Blumenthal concludes simply that it was a professionally executed commission, pointing out that some of the greatest artworks in history have been as much — compositions by Mozart and Bach and, this writer would add, paintings by Rafael, Rembrandt and others. “Part of the responsibility of a scholar is to say that this stuff, even if it’s commissioned, is serious,” Blumenthal said. Indeed, when one lets the art of “Aliyah” speak for itself, its bold expressionism and moving imagery answer the question on their own.

Hag Atzmaut Sameah! Happy Independence Day! Happy Birthday, Israel!

 

For my festive posting on Passover I looked this year at some of the representations of Moses, the great superstar of the event celebrated by the holiday in arts and music.

 

source http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=2164

source http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=2164

 

As with many other Bible subjects the representation of Moses is very popular in the manuscripts that predate the invention of printing. Above you can see ‘Moses and the Ark of the Covenant’ represented in tempera colors and silver paint on parchment in an illuminated German manuscript about 1400 – 1410.

 

source http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=12927

source http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=12927

 

The most famous representation of Moses is probably Michelangelo’s statue on the tomb of pope Julius II the Church of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) in Rome.

 

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

 

Raffaello Santi (1483-1520) was Michelangelo Buonarroti’s contemporary and rival. His elegant version of Moses Saved from the Water can be admired in the galleries of Palazzi Pontifici in Vatican.

 

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

 

One of the Baroque painters I like a lot is Guido Reni (1575-1642), a sophisticated follower of Caravaggio. His Moses with the Tables of the Law can be admired at Villa Borghese.

 

source http://klp.pl/admin-malarstwo/images/r_rembrandt_bol/r_rembrandt_rembrandt132.html

source http://klp.pl/admin-malarstwo/images/r_rembrandt_bol/r_rembrandt_rembrandt132.html

 

Another famous representation is of Moses Smashing the Tables of the Law by Rembrandt, which can be admired in Berlin, at the Gemäldegalerie.

 

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Turner,_Light_and_Colour_%28Goethe%27s_Theory%29.JPG

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Turner,_Light_and_Colour_%28Goethe%27s_Theory%29.JPG

 

Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – the Morning after the Deluge – Moses Writing the Book of Genesis is one of the interesting experimental pieces of work of Joseph Mallord William Turner (c.1775–1851). First exposed in 1843,the painting depicts a deluge scene where the natural effects of light and weather (the atmosphere) help Turner not only create almost abstract effects, but also put in colors some of the Goethe’s theory of light and darkness. Moses is only ideally present in the title of the work, as homage to the writer of the Book of Genesis, where the deluge is described.

 

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

 

What about this sensual version of ‘The Finding of Moses’ signed by Frederick Goodall (1822-1904)? Goodall was an Orientalist who actually traveled to Egypt by the time of the construction of the Suez Canal, when the fascinating country came back to the attention of the Europeans.

 

(video source KukMusic)

 

Switching to music, here is a fragment from the intense oratorio Moses by Max Bruch, interpreted by the  Russian Chamber Philharmonic of St. Petersburg conducted by Jürgen Budday. This is a concert recording from the Maulbronn Monastery, of the performances on June 19th & 20th 2004.

 

(video source apcarter)

 

A real gem is the traditional spiritual sang by The Carter Family in 1930 The Rock Where Moses Stood.

 

(video source PowePuffCandy)

 

A fine way to end is the gospel ‘Go Down Moses’ in one of the most famous versions with the line Let My People Go sung by Louis Armstrong.

 

Hag Sameah! A Happy Passover!

 

The festive entry today in the blog dedicated to the festival of Purim deals with Queen Esther – one of the beloved characters of the story of Purim and history of Jews. Uncounted Jewish little girls chose her as the character that they mask in for the festival. This may be a rather new tradition however, bu the image of the beautiful and dedicated woman fascinated illustrators of the Bible many centuries back. I browsed the Net for information and reflections of the Biblical character of Queen Esther in art, and first of all in painting. Here are a few findings, I hope that you will find them beautiful and interesting.

 

source http://estherhecht.wordpress.com/tag/illuminated-manuscripts/

source http://estherhecht.wordpress.com/tag/illuminated-manuscripts/

 

Ancient illuminated manuscripts are among the first to provide representation of the Queen Esther image and exploits. Here is a splendid old Jewish manuscript, one of the oldest and finest in the British Museum collection, from The North French Hebrew Miscellany, 1272-98, representing King Ahashverosh holding out his scepter to Queen Esther.

 

source http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp?i=30050528+&cr=6&cl=1

source http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp?i=30050528+&cr=6&cl=1

 

Another beautiful example of illuminated art representing the Purim story is the Megillat Esther, a scroll with the biblical story of Queen Esther, read during the Purim festival, created by the Jews of Ascona (now in Italy) in 1784, which can be found nowadays in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

 

source http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1997.156

source http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1997.156

 

The Metropolitan Museum in New York contains in its collections a beautiful study by Claude Lorrain from the beginning of the 17th century representing Queen Esther approaching the palace of the King of Persia. The vast staging allows for an elegant and complex landscape in Baroque style.

 

source http://www.jewishmag.co.il/121mag/rembrandt-purim-art/rembrandt-purim-art.htm

source http://www.jewishmag.co.il/121mag/rembrandt-purim-art/rembrandt-purim-art.htm

 

Rembrandt’s Haman Begging Esther for Mercy painted in 1655 is one of the power pieces of the collection of the National Art Museum in Bucharest. It is dark in coloring (as many of the masterpieces of Rembrandt) and powerful in the composition which emphasizes the relations between the three characters of the Purim story.

 

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Ahasuerus,_Haman_and_Esther_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Ahasuerus,_Haman_and_Esther_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

 

Another version painted by Rembrandt of the Purim heroes can be found in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. It is called Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther and is dated 1660.

 

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Esther_haram.jpg

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Esther_haram.jpg

 

This intense version of the portrait of the Queen is called Esther haram, is dated 1878 and belongs to a painter from the Victorian period named Edwin Long who painted many historical and Biblical stories giving them an Orientalist and erotic touch.

 

source http://donnasreport.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/documentary-return-to-byzantium.html

source http://donnasreport.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/documentary-return-to-byzantium.html

 

Contemporary mosaic artist Lilian Broca is well known for several series inspired by feminine Biblical characters among which the one dedicated to Queen Esther is probably the best known. Her technique adapts some of the Byzantine mosaic techniques and materials, and the results are spectacular.

 

Chag Purim Sameakh! A Happy Purim!

As we are lighting the first candle of Hanukkah tonight, as the tradition of The Catcher in the Sand requires on any Jewish holiday, let us have a slightly different perspective on the holiday. As the holiday is besides candles and sufganiot (doughnuts) also about the Maccabees here are a few reflections of the holiday in art, music … and laughs.

 

source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:24v_Leiden_I_Maccabees.jpg

 

Appreciation for Jewish military skills is not something as new as I thought. Medieval manuscripts already included scenes from the battles of the Maccabees. Here is a Leiden illuminated manuscript, 1 Maccabees and Flavius Vegetius Renatus – ‘Epitoma rei militaris’ (Book IV) painted at the end of the 12th century. This was actually a Latin treaty of military art which took the deeds of the Maccabees as one of the examples .

 

source http://www.feelbyte.com/Jean-Fouquet/Battle-between-the-Maccabees-and-the-Bacchides-162108.html

 

Here is the 15th century representation of the Battle between the Maccabees and the Bacchides as painted by Jean Fouquet.

 

source http://art-unwashed.blogspot.co.il/2011/11/restitution-follies-217-years-later.html

 

Rubens’ The Triumph of Judah Maccabee is one of the most famous pieces of Renaissance art dedicated the story of the Maccabees. Interestingly enough the painting which can be found today in the Museum of Fine Arts in Nantes is the object of a dispute nowadays between France and Belgium, which claims its return more than 200 after it was part of the trophies Napoleon brought to France during the Napoleonic wars.

 

source http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/giovanni-domenico-tiepolo/the-seven-maccabee-brothers-are-condemned-to-death-by-antiochus-iv

 

An 18th century painting by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo represents the scene where The seven Maccabee brothers are condemned to death by Antiochus IV.


(video source Zadlem)

 

Out of the musical creations Haendel’s Judas Maccabeus Oratorio is one of the most famous – here is the overture.

 

(video source The Maccabees)

 

Nowadays the name The Maccabees belongs to an English indie rock band. How did they pick it? Well, they just flipped the Bible and picked a name, and the rest was (kind of) history. Here is a song called Ayla taken from Given To The Wild, an album released this summer.

 

(video source Uri Westrich)

 

They are of course not to be confused with The Maccabeats the a capella group originally formed in 2007 as the NYC Yeshiva University’s student vocal group and – yes! – this is a Hanukkah song.

 

(video source The Jimmy Kimmel Live Channel)

 

Even our friend (well ..) Mel Gibson became involved with a project of a film about Judah Maccabee. It looks like the project is on hold by now, but Jimmy Kimmel succeeded to obtain the trailer :-)

 

Hag Hanukkah Sameah! A Happy Hanukkah!

 

 

Jews all over the world start celebrating tomorrow evening Simchat Torah, the last of the Jewish holidays in the autumn season. The holiday marks the end of the annual cycle of reading and learning of the Torah, and the joy of beginning a new cycle. Life is meant to be in the Jewish tradition not only a cycle of seasons but also a cycle of learning and living according to a tradition based on the Torah. I collected and I am sharing here a few exceptional images of Torah as it is reflected in art and I hope that you will like them.

 

source http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415440097/bookimages.asp

 

source http://faariscar.blogspot.co.il/2011/11/art-knowledge-news-keeping-you-in-touch_12.html

 

I am starting with a couple of reproductions of the Illuminated version of Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah created in Northern Italy between 1457 – 1465. This collection of Maimonide’s rulings and interpretations of the Torah was written by the great rabbi, philosopher and physician in the 12th century during his stay in Egypt. As the art of writing illuminated manuscripts was flourishing during the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, the Jewish books were no exception, and this is one of the most beautiful examples that survived the centuries.

 

source http://mkerzner.blogspot.co.il/2011/04/menachot-30-writing-torah-scroll.html

 

Marc Chagall was one of the greatest painters of the 20th century who created many works inspired by the Torah and the life in the Jewish villages in Eastern Europe where he was born, a life all but destroyed by the storms of the 20th century and especially the Russian Revolution and the Holocaust. I had last year the chance to visit the exhibition Chagall et la Bible in Paris, at the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme and i wrote about it here. Above is Rabbi with a Torah.

 

source http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/Tag/judaism

 

This is one Chagall’s latest works dedicated to the subject – Man with Torah, dated 1975.

 

source http://judaica-art.com/judaica-artists/mane-katz/mane-katz-a-jewish-man-holding-torah-judaica-fine-art-oil-painting-reproduction/prod_368.html

 

From the same area of Eastern Europe as Chagall came Emmanuel Mane Katz, a painter associated with the School of Paris, who traveled to the Palestine under British Mandate and then Israel which he considered as his spiritual home. Much of his work is inspired by Jewish themes, here is ‘A Jewish Man Holding Torah’.

 

source http://www.minutemannewscenter.com/articles/2011/01/20/entertainment/art/doc4d371173dc021683268199.txt

 

Finally here is “Torah” by the American artist Norman Gorbaty, known among other for his illustration of the Sesame Street books.

 

source http://blog.rabbijason.com/2005/09/simchat-torah-torah-is-saved.html

 

I am concluding with an astonishing photograph which I found while researching for this blog entry. It represents a man carrying a Torah being saved from a synagogue in New Orleans devastated in 2005 by hurricane Catrina. A picture which – as a Facebook friend of mine wrote – symbols the essence of the holiday.

Hag Sameakh!

 

Reading and Learning about the holiday of Sukkot which starts at sunset on Sunday I was reminded that Sukkot is among other the date when the First Temple of Jerusalem was consecrated by King Solomon. My idea for this festive blog entry is to mention a few works of art that represent the image of the Temple, one of the historical buildings that marked the history of the Antiquity and of the modern world, a place of high significance for Judaism and Christianity. While the destruction of the Temple twice in history on the day of 9 Av was largely represented, the images created in history of the Temple do not include only destruction. They also represent the vision of the artists about this place where the stone met the spirit, the building, the inauguration by Kinf Solomon, the re-building after the first time it was destroyed.

 

source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Construction_du_Temple_de_J%C3%A9rusalem.jpg

 

The Construction of the Temple was imagined in the 15th century by Jean Fouquet, a master of manuscript illumination, in a book illustrated around 1470-1475 similar to the construction of the Gothic cathedrals that were raised and finished in that part of Europe during his times.

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Afbeeldinge_van_den_Tempel_Solomonis.jpg

 

The representation drawn by Jacob Judah Leon was famous in the mid 17th century. Leon was a descendant of Spanish Jews and translated the Psalms from Hebrew for the European audiences of the time. In 1643 this engraved plan as well as a description of the Temple based on the original Bible information was presented to King Charles II of England.

 

source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tissot_Solomon_Dedicates_the_Temple_at_Jerusalem.jpg

 

The Dedication of the Temple by King Solomon was imagined by French artist James Jacques Joseph Tissot in this painting dated between 1896 and 1902.

 

source http://www.oneyearbibleblog.com/2012/07/index.html

 

This is the way Neapolitan painter Giuseppe Bonito imagined King Solomon praying in front of the temple around 1750

 

source http://www.art.com/products/p12365519-sa-i1735985/gustave-dore-the-jews-rebuild-the-temple-of-jerusalem.htm

 

Gustave Dore was one of the most famous illustrators of the Bible. Here is his vision of the re-building of the Temple at the return from the Babylonian exile.

 

source http://yumuseum.tumblr.com/OldandNew

 

Mark Podwall is a contemporary textile artist, and this vision of the Temple is a detail from a curtain created for the Altneuschul in Prague.

 

source http://www.art.net/~vision/yael2g.htm

 

Here is contemporary Israeli artist Yael Avi-Yonah’s utopian vision of the future city of Jerusalem and of the Third Temple
seen from the Mount of Olives, surrounded by the River of Life. Emerging from its entrance is the Tree of Life represented by a DNA helix molecule.

 

Hag Sukkot Sameakh!

« Previous PageNext Page »