In Israel there is a lot of effort put into trying to organize an
encounter between Arabian and Jewish artists. What occasionally succeeds among individual,
intellectual musicians, seems to collide with unbreakable political barriers at the
institutional level e.g. with orchestras and choirs.
This is a unique coming together of an Arabic and Jewish choir, who
interpret, together with soloists and an orchestra, songs of one God, two nations and
The repertoire includes songs from Moslem liturgy, Byzantine church
chorals, Chassidic* and synagogue songs, sephardic* and Yemenite tunes, to arrangements of
the Carmina Burana and original compositions from Timna Brauer and Eli Meiri.The emphasis
is on the music of the three religions from the Mediterranean region and the contact
points and crossing links among them. The Yemenite songs for example are reminiscent of
Gregorian chants, and the oriental Jewish melodies work as a connecting link between
Chassidic singing and Arabic cadence.
What we are striving for is to free the old works from their antique
and often stiff characters, to renew them with the contemporary musical approach without
compromising their essence. The interpretation of Timna Brauer and Eli Meiri contribute to
outlining a unified piece out of the eclecticism.
The Ensemble Ud al Nad from the Arabic city of Nazareth was
recruited for this project. Muslims and Christians perform together, led by the young
director Katy Jarjoura. The Jewish-Israelis are represented by the Collegium Tel-Aviv,
directed by the choir specialist, Avner Itai.
lt is possible to overcome contrasts in cultures and religions by
changing roles while not feeling as a stranger in the new role. Music seems to enable
sublimation and transcendence, and in this way draws us from prejudice and defense. The
cello imitates an oud* and the oboe d'amore reminds of a zuma*. Jews sing about Allah and
Maria, Moslems recite Yom Kippur* prayers, Israelis sing in Arabic.
"The bringing together of the two choirs was so sensitive and
complex. Nevertheless it was worth it. The outcome surpassed all my expectations: two
worlds don't have to collide when two choirs are in tune with each other. Black like
crows, they bemoan their dead, yet in a colourful dialogue, they unfold into doves of