Entries tagged with “holidays”.

Beautiful music for the last day of 2016.

‘The Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97, by Ludwig van Beethoven is a piano trio for piano, violin, and cello, finished in 1811. It is commonly referred to as the Archduke Trio, because it was dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria, the youngest of twelve children of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor. Rudolf was an amateur pianist and a patron, friend, and composition student of Beethoven. Beethoven dedicated a total of fourteen compositions to the Archduke, who dedicated one of his own to Beethoven in return.’

(source https://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Piano_Trio,_Op._97_(Beethoven))

The recording features Wilhelm Kempff on piano, Yehudi Menuhin on violin, and Mstislav Rostropovich on cello. It dates from 1974, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of UNESCO International Music Council.

(video source kinor65)

The traditional Rosh Hashanah posting on The Catcher in the Sand is dedicated this year to the shofar. Jews are (among other things) a nation of musicians and they have been so since the oldest times. King David is said to have introduced music in the religious rituals and some of the oldest musical instruments have their origin in the land of Israel or around. None of them however is that much related to the Jewish holidays and specifically to the New Year and Yom Kippur as the shofar.


sursa imaginii http://www.jewlicious.com/2011/08/shofar-its-that-time-of-the-year/

sursa imaginii http://www.jewlicious.com/2011/08/shofar-its-that-time-of-the-year/


The shofar is a traditionally made of the ram’s horn. The sound is modulated using the blower’s lips. I have no personal experience, but it looks like it takes both strength and skills to create meaningful sounds. It is mentioned many times in the Bible, the first time in the Book of Exodus, around Mount Sinai.


(video source G-dcast – Meaningful Jewish Screentime)


Let us first remember the significance of Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year and the role of the shofar. Today it announces the start of the High Holidays in the synagogue services.


(video source James Barbarossa)


There are four traditional Jewish shofar calls or blasts. Here they are explained by Jim Barbarossa, whose trip in Israel in 1996 triggered the passion for the instrument, which now he masters to the point he is surnamed The Shofar Man.


(video source partytown2)


Here is how actually the shofar sounds during the Rosh HaShannah service in a synagogue.


(video source Meira Warshauer)


The usage of the shofar is not limited however to the Jewish religious services. Musicians took the instrument, experimented, and created in different musical genres. Here is an excerpt (#2) from Tekeeyah (a call), Concerto for Shofar, Trombone, and Orchestra by Meira Warshauer. (Copyright Meira Warshauer 2009)


(video source rodneynewton1)


Lighter genres did not avoid the shofar either. Here is Phil Driscol playing the shofar in a trumpet style.


(video source George Payne)


Closing the cycle here is Randy Spencer playing the instrument in a spiritual, world music genre.


(video source Thewhatsupband)


To end with here is a Rosh Hashanah parody song ‘Blow Shofar’ by The Shlomones. There is little shofar sound here, but a lot of talk about it.


Shana Tova! A Good Year, with good health and sweetness in your lives!

The traditional Passover posting on The Catcher is this time about the Passover movies. There are not too many movies dedicated to the Passover history or even to Passover nowadays, and I am wondering why. The Exodus is one of the fundamental myths of mankind and of the culture some call Judeo-Christian  (I am not crazy about this syntagma, but this is a different subject) – it is about national and religious identity, about slavery and freedom, and the story includes several fascinating characters. I am of course referring to Moses and Ramses, but also to those who gather around the Passover Seder table each year. Yes, that aunt too :-) So, not too many films but a few memorable ones, and at least one in the making which will be added to the list sometime later this year.


source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ten_Commandments_%281923_film%29

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ten_Commandments_%281923_film%29


One of the first notable productions belongs to the era of the silent movies and was produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille in 1923. His first The Ten Commandments included a prologue with the Biblical story and a ‘modern’ story inspired by it. Some of the scenes in the prologue where filmed in Technicolor, one of the first big screen attempts of using this technology.


(video source MoviesHistory)


It is however the second, 1956 version of The Ten Commandments directed by  Cecil B. DeMille that became famous. Its cast included Charlton Heston (Moses), Yul Brynner (Rameses), Anne Baxter (Nefretiri), Edward G. Robinson (Dathan). It was filmed on location in the Sinai Desert, and was nominated to seven Academy Awards, eventually receiving only one. It made it however for perpetual TV programming in the holidays season.


(video source skinnyalley)


You will find a somehow different perspective of the story in Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I made in 1981, where Moses is the first of the five characters imagined and played by Brooks in his comical alternate version of the history of mankind.


(video source JB91283)


Passover is not only history but also a yearly reality for Jews who spend that one night of the year remembering (or not) the Bible, reading (or mostly not) the Hagadah, meeting (happily or not) with the family, and eating (yes, this for sure). ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’, one of Woody Allen’s films I love most includes a wonderful Seder scene with the character played by David Landau being in the situation of repenting for some very bad deeds.


(video source Liz Bradley)


Still in the US, still in SederLand, here is an example of TV comedy dealing with the topic: In a segment from the very popular (in the 80s) Anything But Love, Jamie Lee Curtis learns a few things about the Seder traditions.


(video source Paramount Movies)


An animated version of the story was realized in 1998 by Spielberg’s Dreamworks company and released as Prince of Egypt. Ralph Fiennes, Michele Pfeiffer and Steve Martin are among the actors who borrowed their voices to the characters, while Ofra Haza sang the song that won the Academy Award for the Best Original Song. At the Oscar ceremony the song was sung by Whitney Houston and Maria Carey.


(video source Trailer Maker)


The story goes on, and the number of films dedicated to the subject slowly increases. As Bible-inspired movies seem to have been identified by Hollywood as a lucrative business we will have a few of these in 2014, among which a version of Exodus directed by Ridley Scott with Christian Bale as Moses. No trailers with moving images are yet available, but in the meantime you can listen to the music and see a first poster in the clip above.

I hope that you enjoyed this review, and that you will see some good movies (related or not to Passover) during the coming vacation, and also that you will bravely face the Seder and happily survive the week of the matzot. To all:

Hag Sameakh! Happy Passover! Un Pesah Fericit!

The pattern of Jewish holidays goes like this. We first say (or watch others saying) a prayer. Then we tell or read a story about how other very very very bad people tried to discriminate, kill, destroy us the very very very good people. Then we say ‘Oh vey!’ And then we eat. Unless we feast.

Purim is no exception. It is actually an especially cruel holiday. Since the moment our kids are born we need to buy each year costumes, they must be different each year, they never pass from brother to brother or from sister to sister (neither other combinations), and this lasts until the teenager says – ‘I am a grown-up, I do not need that stupid costume for Purim this year’.


source www.tabletmag.com

source www.tabletmag.com


Even more cruel is the name of the traditional cakes we eat on Purim – it is actually ‘Haman’s ears’ – so we eat each year the ears of the bad bad bad guy who tried to inflict suffering on us thousands of years ago. At least they taste better than the ‘matzah’ we will eat one month from now.

So what is left to confront all this cruelty? Humor, of course – the famous Jewish humor, the self-laughing and the smiles mixed with tears that allowed us to survive everything, from Pharaohs to the Jewish holidays. This is why my Purim article this year is dedicated to the Jewish humor, and specifically Jewish humor in movies.

There are plenty of examples. Here are a few. You are welcome to write me and add more.


(video source guru006)


Jews talk with God. In every prayer, in some curses (yes, we also have some and if not we borrow from non-Jewish neighbors) and in the day-to-day lives. Here is one of the more famous such dialogs the one called ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, the musical inspired by the – maybe – greatest Jewish humorist of all times – Scholem Aleichem.


(video source MingoBlue)


Woody Allen could not be absent from such a review. Here he is followed by some Jewish Robot Tailors


(video source  zicrobe)


Non-Jew actors make for some of the best rabbis. As a proof here is the dance of Rabbi Jacob in Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob with my preferred French comedian of all times – Louis de Funes


(video source Filmfood Janneke)


Neither could Seinfeld be absent. Here he is fighting the Jewish food curse, and preparing for the unique Jewish singles night.


(video source Mark Edmonds)

Way for some more controversial stuff. Borat a.k.a. Sacha Baron Cohen is joined by his audience in singing Throw the Jew Down the Well!! in a satiric reality show approach to antisemitism.

(video source GonzoBlonde)


Is humor permissible in treating such serious themes as the Holocaust? Why not? Most of us now Roberto Begnini’s ‘La Vitta e Bella’ but before it there was Radu Mihaileanu’s ‘Train de vie’. Here is an unforgettable scene describing the encounter between the Jews and the Roma, the two minorities targeted by extermination by the Nazis. Great music too!


(video source Amma1968)


Last but not least – here is a scene good chances you all know. Is this Jewish Humor? No doubt for me. There is nothing more Jewish but laughing in face of adversity, of tragedy.


Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Hag Purim Sameah! A Happy Purim!


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!



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.




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)




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).




‘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.




‘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.




‘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?




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’.




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




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!