As International Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches, imagine the world in 1914, a generation before the Shoah: The state of affairs that had persisted in Europe and the Mediterranean since the Congress of Vienna is about to be violently undone, and all of Europe, including European Jewry, is about to be drawn into armed conflict. And yet, the world is eerily serene.
In a different Maurice Ravel composition from this same period before the Holocaust, La Valse, one can hear the gracious, courtly empires of the western world unraveling, as the waltz spins out of control.
During this precarious time, with the Dreyfus Affair in living memory (Dreyfus himself, released and restored to his officer’s commission, is about to serve in the war), composer Maurice Ravel was commissioned by the soprano Alvina Alvi to write two settings of Jewish melodies, of which Kaddisch is a remarkable fusion of the French Impressionist sound world with the traditional mode.
We wish you a Shabbat Shalom, and hope this music aids in a profound remembrance of great loss.
Music: Maurice Ravel, orchestration by Joseph Ness Commissioned by PAS
AV: Oscar Acevedo, Erik van Batavia, Justin Goodman
Video Editor: Tami Shaham