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<<  -- 2 --  Jennifer Paull    AARON RABUSHKA


For me, an unconditional supporter of the Psalter translated by Miles Coverdale (1536), I miss the beautiful Old English. I fully realise that this is not the common tongue of the man in the street today, but then neither is Aramaic. Of course, the meaning is the same, but the intensity of the poetry is not.

The text set by the composer being Aramaic, I shall simply indulge myself by illustrating it in the translation of my personal choice, and not that of the recording company!

'When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion: then were we like unto them that dream.'

The soprano introduces the first words of the text and the flute takes over in a long, beautiful quasi recitativo above the strings. One is carried away on an evocative flight to the Land of Dreams.

In Rabushka's own words:

'This work presents a rhapsodic soundscape that springs from the often dreamy expressions of Psalm 126. The soprano's text is based upon the Targum Onekelos, one of the Arameic translations of the Old Testament. The title, Concerto Vocale refers to the interactive play of solo voice with instruments, and among the instruments themselves. It derives from the vocal concertos of the Baroque Era in which the interactions of individual voices and instruments expressed and expanded the meaning of the text. The orchestra for this work grew around the sounds I began to hear in connection with this Psalm. It's structure evolved intuitively, guided by the text. The instruments respond to the soprano's declamations, with flute and violin being predominantly featured as soloists.'

The soprano completes the first verse, and the flute further explores its opening 'recitative' above wood blocks, piano (directly plucked strings), and string pizzicati in a dialogue with the solo violin. This is simply beautiful. The flute and the violin are like birds encircling the Faithful.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter: and our tongue with joy ... Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already: whereof we rejoice.

Rabushka does rejoice! This might be a most surprising juxtaposition, but a polka, a general letting down of the hair (or head dress), and having a good time, is what happens next, bringing dreams to an earthly reality.

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Copyright © 7 July 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland





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