“Scars, broken porcelain, and other preludes” [by Viviana Ramos]

“I believe that what we become depends on what our parents teach us in small
moments, when they are not trying to teach us. We are made of small fragments of wisdom.”

-Umberto Eco-


In a hyper-consumerist and capitalist society, stagnant in melodies of propaganda and cell phone notifications, of stickers oversaturated with brilliant colors, of signs, advertisements, purchases, sales, and programmed obsolescence, it is normal to get up in the morning, dizzy, confused, and break a coffee cup. If this happens, we automatically think “it doesn’t matter, I’ll buy another”. When breaking a coffee cup there are no major consequences, it’s true; if only it were that simple with the painful stories that shape part of our lives. Certainly, it’s not possible to erase or eliminate our memories and our lives as easily, all the memories and childhood recollections, losses, separations, sorrow, among other harsh experiences that we have all lived through. In this sense, the Japanese in the 15th century discovered a way to restore ceramic using lacquer dusted with gold, which has transformed into something more than a practice of craft, becoming a whole philosophy of life. In Kintsugi it is not about replacing, mending, or repairing something broken to conceal its defect or imperfection, but on the contrary, it transforms the object into something beautiful given its condition; celebrating its antiquity, history, trauma, defects. In this way, its transcendental symbolism finds in beauty a better aesthetic connotation based in values that are not replaced, without transforming its aesthetic essence, evoking the erosion of time on all things physical, the mutability of identity and the value of imperfection. In this same way, these twenty-four preludes for violin and piano by Lera Auerbach possess the fragility, and at the same time the edge and roughness, of small, broken porcelain fragments, which patience and love have reconstructed in new forms of art through the artisan fingers of Ksenia Nosikova and Katya Moeller: the Avita Duo.

These pieces throughout the years have been integrated into the repertoires and discography of artists like Gidon Kremer, Vadim Gluzman, Daniel Hope, Jacques Ammon, and Angela Yofee, among others. Unlike other works with cyclic structures, serials, and other preludes, perhaps the greatest charm that many of artists find in Auerbach’s works lies in the complex sound fused with the softness and newness of the American world and the powerful weight of Russian music. There, Mussorgsky appears at times, accompanying us to those landscapes that the composer takes us to through acoustic reminiscences. Another great Russian composer, Stravinsky, mentioned in his Poetics of Music that “one word or one syllable or a single sound. That goal which one tries to reach and does not reach. However, the road in between, that long road with an unknown end that we find with difficulty, is what moves us in the life of a creator”.

How right he was!. According to tradition, the poetic sensibility and cultural depths of these preludes are uncommon for this genre in general, almost technical exercises. The versatility and frequency with which they are interpreted reflect the preference of the interpreters for this series of pieces, given that they are particularly expressive. Therefore, the first, third, and eight preludes are very unique, with a subtle and rare beauty that at moments appears to float in a lunar weightlessness. In contrast, numbers four, five, and fourteen are impassioned gestures of tradition and pay homage to the great generations of virtuosos and concertos that have written for violin.
The dramatic structure and narrative that is found in these preludes cannot be thought of in this manner except by someone who also knows literature. Thus, the narrative tone is a connecting thread that guides us through these scenes, written for these characters: The violin and the piano. Those that know their Aphorisms published in “Excess of Being”, can feel at times the same sensation from these brief, concrete messages; very poetic and reflexive. In this way, we can say that these twenty microforms are small, poetic, musical ideas and yet they enter into complete parody in relation to their content, which explores the grand genres and sounds of Western classical music. Given here is a very interesting relation between content and form, that demonstrates technical control and a particular boldness that permits the composer to combine and mix artistic languages in unique and innovative forms.

As we know, the prelude is a short piece without an apparent defined structure or form that serves as an anticipation to “grand” musical forms. But in these preludes the work between content and form has been very fascinating from the gaze of those reviewing tradition and the great written forms for the two instruments of greatest importance in the literature of western concert music. The great thinker Marshall McLuhan once said that “the form of media is embedded in whatever message is being transmitted or transported, creating a symbiotic relation in that the media influences how the message is received.” In this particular case, the Avita Duo chose for these preludes a structure that minimizes their formal artistic-aesthetic presumptions, but in fact, the way their content is being played shows that these are wonderful pieces for violin and piano. It turns out then, in a very ironic metaphor, to address intimacy, autobiography, introspection, and the self. This synthesis of musical language seems to pierce the compositions written by Auerbach to these short preludes, where every one creates a chapter and all together they shape the story. Such is the concision that is achieved in this cycle, escaping technicalities, tradition, formality, and structural convenience.

In the summer of 1999, when this series was born from the mind and hands of Auerbach, it did not yet have the beautiful nuances, time, and vision that great artists have brought to it. Today, every prelude constitutes a piece of a past life, a story real or imagined, a distant sound of a whistled melody, a fragment of someone’s forgotten memory; it is an aphorism, it is a scar on the terrain of a body lying under the sun.

The complexity of accepting a new recording project with works that have been extensively addressed in music and in distinct interpretations supposes an incessant palimpsest exercise, where that revision of the gaze of others and the self lends complexity to its aesthetic transformation, giving it every time a new and greater value, like the pieces of ceramic in the Japanese Kintsugi technique.
Therefore, between the Avita Duo’s introspections and outbursts, we find ourselves in the vibrating and branching paths of the violin strings. In this pair, united by close ties — mother and daughter — Katya Moeller contributes with her violin to this new assemblage of sounds all the energy, determination, and spontaneity of her young age. Despite her youth, she has already been deemed worthy of important awards and national and international mentions. Her closeness to the compositions included in this disc provides newness and confidence, she brings skill to the pieces and a very enjoyable “natural” realness, succeeding in these pieces being perceived in a different way. There is a brutal intensity in the sound, which provides a very updated vision of the violin as the predominant classical instrument and the music that surrounds us today in general. The contemporary and transgressive gaze of youth is always an added value in a review or renewal of art. This revision incorporates particular nuances in the pieces, noting and emphasizing facets, ways of watching and listening that previously, perhaps, were not so evident as they are in this performance by the Avita Duo. With little more than ten years spent playing together, here they manage real moments of a modest, soft, colorful, lyricism that evokes visions of the great Russian ballets or the experiences that accompany the monochromatic images of silent movies. This can be felt in some of the pieces, like the sixth, seventh, and eighth. Also, in the eighth and ninth, the combination of the movements of the bow contrasts frequently with moments of pizzicato, where we go deep into flashes of folklore forgotten by “developed” societies.

These twenty-four preludes, quasi-aphorisms of music and language of the piano, leave us with a very literary and narrative taste that invites us to go on a stroll through those dense forests of the world of the composer and their many voices. Small haikus of being, that dwell between painful, subtle, melancholy bowstrings. These are the hands of the Avita Duo discovering a truly varied spectrum of colors. Certainly notable are the colors achieved by the piano, a percussive element that Ksenia Nosikova offers to us. The traces of Russian sound that emanate in this outstanding interpretation are unforgettable. The echoes that live in her piano at times take us to Christmas night from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and all of the magic that surrounds it. It appears to be something simple, but in reality it requires a high level of skill to play the range of nuances that these twenty-four preludes demand from the emotions and from the soul. Ksenia achieves it masterfully, spontaneously, genuinely, and fearlessly. She does this in such a degree that for the second part of these “miniatures”, in pieces sixteen and seventeen, we arrive at the sphere of spectralism, at dreams of loss or desolation.
Practically, the margin of sound blurs these preludes that stretch and cover time until the second structural part of the CD. After these very lively twenty-four preludes for piano and violin, we arrive at the fragmented world of “Oskolki”.
“Oskolki detstva” (Fragments of Childhood), was the original title of the biography published by Gidon Kremer in 1995. Maybe, this book so personal to Kremer was the principal source of inspiration for Auerbach to write her ten pieces for violin and piano of the same name. Sounds that fade, phrases that branch away, fragments that are forgotten. The in-tune sounds are replaced by aggressive clusters that paint an abstract, slightly figurative, surreal atmosphere, where just like the sounds, identity and memories seem to be lost, broken down. Their specters float in the air. There are no phrases, but only words, laments, doubts, uncertainty. But just like in life, not everything is pain and despair. Our own spirit, although at times in pain and defeated, pushes us forward, always toward the glow of hope. You can feel some of these moments, slight and suddenly transient, like the shadow of a cloud, but full of optimism and love for life.

We want this CD to arrive to us in the spirit of Kintsugi, a powerful metaphor of the importance of resistance, resilience, and our own love in the face of life’s adversities. Listening to the pieces is also a poetic way of healing wounds of the past and finding beauty in the scars they left behind. Beyond the ugly marks are the lines always reminding us of the experiences lived by us and by others. The path that we decide to follow from there depends on each of us, on how we can reimagine our future. Why not do it listening to this CD!?

‘We know exactly what the right decision is, but often choose against our intuition’ – Lera Auerbach sets 72 demons to music [by Thea Derks]

This contribution by Thea Derks appeared first on January 23, 2020, on Ms Derk’s own music blog “Contemporary Classical”:  https://theaderks.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/we-know-exactly-what-the-right-decision-is-but-often-choose-against-our-intuition-lera-auerbach-sets-72-demons-to-music/):

In 2016, the Russian-American Lera Auerbach (1973) stunned both audience and press with her full-length cycle 72 Angels for choir and saxophone quartet. Three years later she composed a sequel, Goetia 72, dedicated to as many demons. This time the choir is accompanied by a string quartet.
The piece was premiered in Berlin in May 2019, by RIAS Chamber Choir and Michelangelo String Quartet. On 30 January co-commissioner Netherlands Kamerkoor and Quatuor Danèl will perform Goetia 72 in the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw under the baton of Peter Dijkstra. The concert forms part of the second edition of the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, and will then tour through Holland.
Auerbach definitely has guts. You must both be ‘a little crazy and have a touch of genius’ to write an evening-long choral work on a text limited to a list of 72 names of angels’, as a reviewer wrote after the world premiere in 2016. Perhaps you have to be even crazier to devote a cycle to as many demons, but Auerbach has unprecedented determination.

No light without shadow

‘I made the first sketches for 72 Angels more than twenty years ago, but no conductor wanted to perform the cycle’, she says. ‘Therefore it seemed even more unrealistic to create a piece about 72 demons, but one cannot have light without shadow, shadows are caused by light.’ Auerbach here refers to the subtitles of her two compositions. The angels bathe ‘in splendore lucis’ (in bright light), the demons dwell ‘in umbra lucis’ (the shadow of light).
For her first cycle, she picked the names of the angels from the Bible book of Exodus, this time she consulted the Ars u Goetia. This is the first part of The Key of Solomon, an anonymous collection of magical practices written in the 17th century. It mentions the names of the 72 demons that King Solomon is said to have locked in a sealed vessel. ‘That book was only the departure point for the sourcing of the names’, Auerbach stresses. ‘I have consulted countless other sources, for each name has multiple variants in different esoteric texts. I researched all that I found available.’
Pagan deities neither ‘evil’ nor ‘good’
She discovered that many names originated from pagan deities. ‘They weren’t just good or bad, they were passionate, jealous creatures not much different from humans. – Or angels. Initially, the two concepts were used interchangeably. It was only with the rise of Christianity and other monotheistic religions that the pagan gods were labelled ‘evil’. From then on, the word ‘angel’ was used for spiritual beings who served the God of Abraham; the name ‘demon’ became associated with the other spirits and the fallen angels.’
Auerbach leaves it open how Solomon himself viewed the demons: ‘No one can know that. He dominated them with the help of a magic ring he had received from the archangel Michael; thus they helped him to build the temple of Jerusalem. Personally, I think that Solomon considered angels and demons simply as energies, vibrations, wavelengths that he could connect. – Perhaps the djinns from Islamic folklore are a better analogy with our time because they are not intrinsically good or bad either.’
In essence, the three monotheistic religions have the same roots, says Auerbach. ‘Judaism, Christianity and Islam are connected from within. That is why it is ironic that in the course of history so much blood has been shed “in the name of God”. And just as light cannot do without shadow and vice versa, angels and demons are two sides of the same coin. In essence, they are the same, just as in the Ancient Greeks’ view: they are not opposites but messengers, communicators, representations of energies.’

Demons disturb our moral compass

Nevertheless, Auerbach does discern a difference: ‘Angels are more distant, demons are closer to us, tempting and seducing us. They toy with our idealism, our desires. They play on the strings of our human emotions, which is why I chose a string quartet in Goetia 72. The four strings act as a partner to the choir and as a guide in this journey through 72 spirits. In modern terms, you could say that demons are a human “creation”. They represent and nourish our fears, paranoia, lust for power, phobias, herd-mentality, possessiveness and greed.’
‘They love noise and loudspeakers because in silence it is easier to hear the quiet inner voice of our moral compass – somewhere in our hearts the voice of an angel always sounds. We know exactly what the right decision is, but we often choose a different one, against our intuition. Demons play on our vanity and desires: they seduce us to long for more possessions, more fame, more power, more beauty, more righteousness.’
‘They are us, like a mirror: ‘A mirror that reflects and amplifies our passions the very moment they take possession of us. And angels? They are the names of God, the army of God, the warriors, the righteous ones. Precisely for this reason, they may fall, for righteousness leads to arrogance and vanity, hence fallen angels – demons. “Vanity, absolutely my favourite sin”, says the Devil in The Devil’s Advocate.
Psalm as talisman
Unlike in 72 Angels, Goetia 72 does not consist exclusively of an enumeration of names, the composition is larded with verses from Psalm 90 (91). ‘This psalm has a history of being used as a talisman, it was traditionally recited when working with demons. I made a setting in ancient Greek and place those verses at three structural points, each after 24 names. This reinforces their protective intention. By the way, this arrangement was not even my intention, the piece itself asked for it, it has grown organically this way.’
In 2016 the composer described 72 Angels as ‘a long, intense prayer, full of passion and hope’. How does she see Goetia 72? ‘It is a kind of ritual, going back to pre-Christian times, before the rise of monotheism. A ritual in which we face ourselves.’ She plays with the fatal temptation that emanates from demons: ‘I give them what they want, not what they need. Then I show them the outcome of their desires. – And then I take everything away from them.’
Auerbach is not only a composer, conductor, pianist and writer, but also a visual artist and sculptor. Do these capacities help her shape her music? ‘Yes. For instance, I have an audio-visual installation called Trapped Angel that could be presented together with 72 Angels and Goetia.’

‘There is also a large immersive installation I would like to create with 72 Angels, and I am in the process of developing various visual artworks related to both cycles. Being a conductor allows me to shape performances as close as possible to my vision for interpreting this diptych. Conducting also helps me to gain a deeper understanding of the performers and audience perspectives.’
She doesn’t have a favourite demon: ‘I wouldn’t dare. Otherwise, the other demons would get jealous.’

Fearless Memory: Our First Three Decades With Lera Auerbach, Composer, Pianist, Poet, Artist [by Dale Debakcsy]

(The following contribution by Mr. Debakcsy first appeared on September 17 in the editorial platform “Women you should know”)

One of the things that consistently blows my students’ minds is the fact that there are still classical composers living today.  After being taken through the pantheon that leads into the cerebral intensities of, say, Stockhausen or Xenakis in the 1970s, students tend to think that classical music must, at that point, be done.  Where else could it go?  How much more experimental could it possibly get?  More practically, given the Dead White European Male bent of nearly all symphonic performances and recordings now (an old joke is that DG, the acronym for the classical publisher Deutsche Grammophon, secretly stands for Deceased Germans), why would anybody want to become a classical composer at this point in history, writing pieces to be performed hardly ever to critically vanishing modern music fans?

With these questions thick in the air, I assure my students, that, yes, classical composers do still walk the Earth, and here is why.  At which point I play them selections from the music of Lera Auerbach (b. 1973), the polymath phenomenon whose mixture of tonality, atonality, storytelling, and visual unease answers at once the question of why composers still exist in a way that all of my yammering never could.  Even in their most abstract moments, her pieces still tell tales of time and conflict, loss and desperation, in a way which fuses different traditions of classical music while showing a way forward that avoids both the pitfalls of intellectually exciting but emotionally austere experimentalism and richly pleasing but overwrought sentimentality.

People seeking to explain Auerbach’s ability to make classical music speak again in manners that people are willing and eager to hear sometimes come to the conclusion that it has something to do with her disjointed relation to time, to how asynchronously the events in her early life line up with the ordinary trajectory of youth.  Born in 1973 in Tscheljabinsk, in the Ural Mountains near the border with Siberia, she was from a young age taken by her nanny to the local cemetery and watched as that nanny cheerfully set about sprucing up her dead husband’s grave, and preparing the plot next to it where one day she would rest.  That brute fact of death, then, which is often so carefully hidden from the eyes of children, was a fact regularly placed before the young Auerbach, but in a manner of comfortable anticipation rather than one of shrinking dread.  Little wonder, then, that Auerbach’s first song, written at the age of four, was about death.

Trained by her mother, her artistic development took on a dizzying pace after that.  She gave her first concert as a pianist at six, performed with an orchestra at eight, and wrote her first opera at twelve, which was also the age she began writing poetry in earnest.  Exposed to the realities of death as a child, and the very adult pressures of composition and performance when barely an adolescent, in some ways Auerbach lived her life backwards, inducted into the Heideggerian anxieties of life at an age when most are simply worried about how their new pencil box will go over at school.  Listening to her music now, it’s easy (perhaps too easy?) to come to the conclusion that this is music written by somebody who has pierced through the maddening veil of earthly existence and come through the other side capable of laughing about the whole beautiful triviality of it all, while still understanding the pains of those caught in its clutches.

By seventeen, it was time for Auerbach to tour, and her family saved up for a year to send her at last to New York in 1991.  While there she had a sudden revelation, that Russia had taught her all that it could, and that for the sake of her future development, she would have to remain in the United States.  She made hasty arrangements to join the Manhattan School of Music to solidify her position, and ultimately attended Juilliard for both composition and piano.  She developed a reputation not only for delivering piano performances that eschewed tradition in favor of deep textual analysis of the composer’s options and intentions, but for composing pieces that avoided all possible labels as they borrowed from any tradition that would provide the sounds she needed to tell the stories she had created.

Commissions from world class performers came her way as she attempted, and by means I can’t possibly understand succeeded, in juggling a career as a performer, composer, visual artist, and poet.  In the United States she became one of the country’s first rank composers while simultaneously in Russia becoming one of that nation’s first rank poets.  Her over one hundred compositions span all scales and styles, but she has come to be known primarily for two extremes: solo and duet compositions, and large scale operas or ballets.  The reasons for this are, I suspect, largely practical – small scale works are cheap and relatively easy to record, so there is less risk on the part of the publisher, while operas and ballets, particularly Auerbach’s, are so rich in visual content that they resonate with a wider audience than, say, a modern piano concerto or symphony.

I think there is nobody living who empathizes as well and turns that empathy into art as deeply as Lera Auerbach.

Whatever the reason, if you are looking for Auerbach’s pieces on cd or dvd, you’ll tend to find works on those two parts of the spectrum.  Of her small scale works, her cycles of preludes for piano, piano and violin, and piano and cello, represent a form that continually attracts and challenges her.  Preludes traditionally are series of 24 compositions that feature a piece in every possible key, major and minor, and while the most famous are doubtless the Chopin Preludes of the 19th century, the form dates back further than that and represents a marvelous opportunity for a composer to tell short, dramatic tales that utilize each key’s unique textures and potentials.  For a composer with the dramatic sensibilities and particularly deep relation to sound like Auerbach, it is a perfect medium for composition, and represents the most regularly recorded of her works.

On the other end of the spectrum lie the dramatic, large scale works.  Glancing at one of Auerbach’s libretti, for the opera Gogol (well, technically for the play Gogol which she wrote as a preparation for producing the libretto), one sees the amount of thought Auerbach puts into not only the drama, themes, and music, but the visual impact of the experience.  Her scenery descriptions are tailored to create feelings of unconscious unease, of making the audience feel Not Quite Right without being able to put their fingers on why.  That unease feeds into the dramatic thrust of her stories, of the self-torment that Nikolai Gogol underwent in his later years at the hands of insidious religious beliefs (Gogol), of Hans Christian Andersen’s heartbreak at the marriage of his beloved friend (The Little Mermaid), of blind humans alone in a forest praying against death that must come (The Blind).  Disjointed, archly comic, brutal when needs be, and marvelously ambiguous as regards what hope there is to be had, these works are surely not for everyone, but for those looking to encapsulate the fears of creative existence they might feel, I think there is nobody living who empathizes as well and turns that empathy into art as deeply as Lera Auerbach.

Auerbach is coming up on the completion of her third decade in her adopted home, a time that has seen her grow from a talented Soviet prodigy to a multi-faceted compositional master whose work is of such a compelling nature that it is able to push against the mighty inertia of classical programming and make a case for why the works of living composers can and must continue to be commissioned and performed.  Her music poses questions we are often afraid to ask, and offers answers that are profound in their ability to leave unresolved our greatest conflicts and tensions, and that is the living essence of art, without which we perish in antiquarian longing, delusional speculation, or, worst of all, a satiation that says only the easy is worth digesting.

FURTHER READING AND LISTENING: There is a nice collection of essays about Auerbach, fragments of conversations with her, and samples of her work in Music & Literature No. 7: Paul Griffiths, Ann Quin, Lera Auerbach (2016).  Otherwise you’re left to glean what you can from the handful of interviews and articles floating about, of which in particular I like this one (in German), and this one (in English).

And now, the excerpts!

The Blind.  A collection of blind travelers, lost in the woods, come to the realization that the person who led them there has died, and that death will soon come for them as well.  Bleak but speaking deeply to the condition of modern self-aware humanity, the combination of a-cappella opera with unsettling imagery is one to watch on a day when you’re feeling very centered in your skin.

Auerbach The Blind

Prelude Op. 41, No. 13 in F-Sharp Minor.  For some reason, nearly all of my favorite preludes by Auerbach are in F-Sharp Minor.  Do I just naturally like that key?  Does Auerbach particularly bring her A game to F-Sharp Minor?  No way to know, but this one reminds me of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in a way that makes it a double treat, as if you watch Auerbach performing that piece (which you can here), and particularly the Grand Gates of Kiev at the end, which this piece has some rhythmic resonance with, it seems like Mussorgsky’s sonic world has particular meaning for her.

Auerbach Prelude

Speak, Memory.  Another neat case of multiple resonances happening simultaneously.  First, this is a performance featuring Hilary Hahn, the international violin superstar who has been consistently a proponent of Auerbach’s work.  Second, the title is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s memoirs of youth, with their particularly evocative sense richness which resonates so particularly with Auerbach’s themes of time and our experience of it.  Third, it’s just a damn great piece.

Speak, memory

Lera Auerbach Part 4: “Chimera” The Music [by Carolyn Talarr]

According to Rafael DeStella, the symphony is “a ‘chimera’ of two different versions of The Little Mermaid: the original 3-hour version that premiered in Copenhagen, and the 2.5-hour version done in Hamburg, conducted by the late Klauspeter Seibel.  Certain parts cut to make the Hamburg version later found their way into the symphony. Seibel also conducted the US Premiere of “Chimera” in New Orleans with his Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008.  He loved the piece so much that he was editing the recording of it on his deathbed, and requested that the transcendent, ethereal final movement, “Requiem for Icarus”, which corresponds to the “Coda in the Stars” in The Little Mermaid, be played at his funeral.

Auerbach’s choice to ‘chimerize’ The Little Mermaid into her first symphony attests to the deep significance the music and the story hold for her. In the interview with Rodrigo Couto, she offered it as an example of one piece that could represent her entire oeuvre:

“In my life there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ this work. It was very complex to write, but it is also the most successful, since it has been represented more than 150 times in several countries. The Little Mermaid has been such a transcendent work for me that at the end of it I have signed with my own blood.”

The complex, intense course of “Chimera” never lets us settle into comfortable predictability, but somehow still allows us to feel grounded in recognizable sounds.  As one critic put it,

“Auerbach is Russian, but she seems to have inhaled all her predecessors in a single gulp. Not only composers from Rachmaninoff to Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke but also heroes of literature dating back to Gogol and Pushkin. The result is a singular voice, rooted in traditional forms and tonality, but still contemporary.”  (Stryker)

Some other critics have tried to contain the ‘singular voice’ in “Chimera” and Auerbach’s other music within certain labels, but Auerbach, like her music, finds that effort irrelevant:

“All of my works have tonal centers, a place where you feel more at home than in other places. Unless you create a home base, how can you create dissonance? And my music is very dissonant, very dramatic – because there’s always a sense of knowing where the coordinates are….As a listener, I really don’t care if what I am listening to is called ‘atonal’, or ‘tonal’, or ‘neo-this’, or ‘neo-that’, or even ‘post-this’, or whatever else it may be called. I am either changed by the musical experience, (perhaps troubled, perhaps inspired, moved, challenged, passionate), or I am bored and the whole experience leaves me cold.” (Peters)

There is no risk of boredom or cold indifference with “Chimera”, however. Understandably since it was born from a 3-hour ballet, there is no ‘sonata form’ in this symphony, no traditional progression from allegro opening through andante middle, perhaps adding a minuet before the allegro/rondo end. The 3 hours are distilled into a little over a half-hour-long suite of 7 subtly related movements in which arcs are drawn and depths plumbed, driven, but not constrained, by the currents and tides of the originating story.

Several specific musical motifs or threads weave in and out of the movements, such as the very first violin solo after the ominous, ponderous opening. Soon after that comes a curious, hesitant repeated major second followed by the minor third that sounds first in the oboe then later in the violin.

These motifs swirl around in that movement and then return in multitudes of permutations in the rest of the symphony, sometimes accompanied by another striking motif, the intense, urgent, accented snap-pizzicato that first appears in the movement “Gargoyles”.

Familiar diatonic harmony and less-familiar dissonance, romantic and more modern idioms and instruments (such as the theremin and crystal glasses) intermingle almost by the second, creating a whole that encompasses and surpasses all of them.  This musical syncretism of “Chimera” is joined by the same “connective tissue” as are Mermaid and Icarus to the creative process Auerbach has relied on since childhood: ‘chimerizing’ stories and images from ancient Greece and all over history to make sense of, and express, contemporary existence.

Lera Auerbach Part 3: “Chimera” – The Backstory (2) [by Carolyn Talarr]

An abundance of associative ‘connective tissue’ joins the characters of Mermaid, Chimera, and Icarus; all of them are, in different ways, more-than-natural, impossible beings.  While Chimera is a mythical mix of species, both Mermaid and Icarus try to escape the natural forms which imprison them, re-form themselves as beings of art(ifice), and pay the ultimate price for their attempted transcendence.

For her part, Auerbach has said that she wrote The Little Mermaid with all the “hunger, maximalism, idealism of youth”, words that describe both herself and the character of Icarus.  The similarities continue: “Every concert…is about being transformed. If we’re not transformed, we’ve just wasted two hours.  For an artist, it’s important never to lose the life and death intensity [emphases mine].”

These similarities speak to Auerbach’s personal connection with her ‘hero’ Icarus, Mermaid, and Chimera.  DeStella confirmed the general association between those who make art(ifice) of themselves and those who make art:

“…the concept of the artist that searches for perfection, for the ultimate, but fails, and falls…there is an aphorism in [Auerbach’s poetry collection] Excess of Being that ‘Every day a new Icarus kills himself’. Little Mermaid is an Icarus, searching for what she cannot reach.”

Beyond all these specific titles, associations, and implications, however, Auerbach initially decided to title not only the symphony but also all the individual movements for several reasons.  On one level, she did it simply because, as she has said, “The conventional titles such as ‘Fantasia’ or ‘Sonata’ or ‘Symphony’ are acceptable, of course, but they are also a bit dry and boring.” True enough; further, as DeStella recounted, “she was keenly aware that unless you do it, someone else will do it later, [so] she took a proactive approach”.

But again, Auerbach’s title(s) didn’t stay within the context of the ballet; by bringing in the image of Chimera, she deliberately distanced this new work from its original context.  The Latin phrases as movement titles provide distance from the original story as well while suggesting that the stakes in this music are nothing less than life and death.

Why did she want to create space between the ballet and the symphony? DeStella explained Auerbach’s deliberate choice with seemingly paradoxical reasoning:

“The titling of the symphony is part of her opus, a conceptual component.  It [speaks to] the question, which really arose in the 19th to 20th centuries: the abstraction of music. [Auerbach] likes to say ‘there are two opposing concepts that are both equally true: all music is abstract, has no story, or all music has story’, because we all make our own stories when we listen to a piece that has no words” [emphases mine].

Each individual in the audience has the right, the freedom to choose the story; the composer’s story is just one of many, no more relevant than that of an audience member.”

Indeed, the Finnish National Ballet later used the Little Mermaid score to create a ballet on the story of Cinderella!

So to Auerbach, programmatic titles both stand as valid insights into her original vision and offer a structure that facilitates, more than “dry” conventional titles would, every audience member’s ability to experience the music themselves and create their own unique visions.

Or as she herself put it, using images that suggest that, with the titles as ‘wings’, as it were, audiences can and should experience a kind of transformation of their own: “The title is [an] invitation for the listener to explore his or her own memories and the transcendental qualities that exist within us, and allows us to break free from this cage of everyday routine and bring the wonder of life.”

Lera Auerbach Part 2: “Chimera” – The Backstory (1) [by Carolyn Talarr]

Commissioned by the Düsseldorf Symphony
John Fiore, conductor
Premiere Date: 11/10/2006


1. Aegri somnia (The sick man’s dream)
2. Post tenebras lux (After darkness, light)
3. Gargoyles
4. Et in Arcadia ego (I [death] am here, even in the perfect countryside)
5. Siste, viator (Halt, traveler)
6. Humum mandere (To bite the dust)
7. Requiem for Icarus

chi·me·ra /kīˈmirə,kəˈmirə/  Noun

1. (in Greek mythology) a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.

2. a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.

an organism containing a mixture of genetically different tissues, formed by processes such as fusion of early embryos, grafting, or mutation.

All three of these definitions resonate throughout the seven movements of Lera Auerbach’s first symphony.  But why “Chimera”? And why those particular titles?  We must remember that Auerbach learned to write music and words at the same age, and is internationally renowned for both her music and her poetry (as well as her visual art).  Just as her body of work crosses and blurs artistic boundaries, so every aspect of any of her creations, whether text, image, or music, makes a vital contribution to the overall experience.

A clue to the significance of the title can be found in the symphony’s origins: Auerbach’s music for The Little Mermaid, a ballet that premiered in 2005.  PYP is fortunate that Rafael DeStella, Artistic Coordinator of Auerbach Studio, spoke with us directly at length about the connections between the two works.  He described:

“As composers in the past have created suites from ballets, the concept of bringing a work from the stage to the concert hall lent itself very well for this type of connection.  One of her great interests her whole life has been chimeras, creatures made from different worlds. The mermaid is a chimera, in a spiritual way, but also in a physical way [emphasis mine]. So, the concept of morphing the ballet score into a concert work was very natural.”

Of course a mermaid is already inherently a chimera of sorts, a woman with a fish’s lower body.  But the Little Mermaid takes it farther; to win her human love she abandons her graceful fins for legs and painful feet. When that love proves impossible, she ultimately transmutes into “a transparent, beautiful being…a daughter of the air” (Andersen).

Yet note that the title of this symphony is not simply “The Mermaid Suite”.  DeStella pointed out that by envisioning “…Mermaid as Chimera, a lot of the titles of the symphony [i.e. the movement titles listed above] connect. Once you see this sort of mirror perspective, you can find them within the story of the mermaid as well. It’s a different interpretation of the same music by the composer.”

One clear instance of that different interpretation is that Icarus suddenly appears in the title of the last movement.  His image is so powerful that in 2011 Auerbach created a third piece, the standalone symphonic tone poem Icarus, from the last two movements of the symphony.  Auerbach wrote in the program notes for the premiere of that piece:

“Icarus was one of my heroes (or antiheroes, depending on the interpretation) – the winged boy who dared to fly too close to the sun.  The wings were made by his father, Daedalus, a skilled craftsman, who earlier in his life designed the famous labyrinth in Crete that held the Minotaur. Daedalus was held prisoner in Crete and the wings were his only way to escape.

Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun or too close to the ocean, but what teenager listens to his father? Exhilarated by freedom, by his own youth, by the feeling of flight, Icarus soared higher and higher until the wax on his wings melted and he fell into the ocean.

The desire to go beyond the boundaries into the ecstatic visionary realm of soaring flight is essentially human. In some ways this desire to transcend the everyday-ness is what it means to be human. That is why this myth has resonated for centuries. Icarus knows the danger of flying too high, but the risk is justified in his eyes. He needs to fly as high as he can, beyond what is possible – it is his nature.”

Lera Auerbach Part 1: Early years [by Carolyn Talarr]

This series of blog entries will focus on different facets of Lera Auerbach’s life and ever-expanding universe of artistic creation.*

Lera Auerbach seems just to live more than a plain everyday human.  Here are a few of the things she’s done in the past six weeks: the world premiere of a massive work for piano, choir and orchestra (including literal cracking ice as part of the percussion) entitled Arctica, which involved extensive in-person research in the Arctic.  The piece was co-commissioned by the National Geographic and the National Symphony Orchestra; conducted by Teddy Abrams, with Auerbach at the piano, at the Kennedy Center, it premiered to rapturous reviews.

She then zipped back to New Orleans, wherein between researching and composing Arctica, she had been serving since February as the first-ever Artist-in-Residence to the entire city.  There she conducted The Blind, an a capella operatic adaptation of the Maeterlinck play that she had composed in college—it was performed in the dark, with a special lighted-crystal baton she happened to have already. Then a week later: the US premiere of her song cycle Songs of no Return at the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College in New York State, where she is visiting Artist-in-Residence this year (during her other engagements she’d also been working with her students long-distance). The work is a setting of texts by Sylvia Plath, Maxine Kumin, and Auerbach herself.

Auerbach’s business card reads “pianist, composer, writer, poet, painter, sculptor” (to which she could also add “photographer” and “conductor”, but who’s counting?). No wonder her first book of poetry in English, illustrated with her own artwork, is entitled Excess of Being.  Just imagining the travel involved is exhausting, much less the massive amount of required creative energy!

Auerbach comes by her multi-dimensional life naturally; born in 1973 to a family of musicians on one side and writers on the other, she learned to read and write music and words at the same time and composed her first piece, a song about death, at age 4.  She has said that she knew by that age that she was “born to…work in art”, started serious piano study that year, debuted with an orchestra at 8, and wrote her first opera, which made her famous in the USSR, at 12. From then she won piano competitions that eventually took her to the United States via a tightly-guarded cultural exchange program in late spring 1991 when she was 17.

Once in the US, Auerbach became literally the ‘very last Soviet émigré artist’ (Flamm) before the fall of the USSR; she decided suddenly to stay in the US and risk never seeing her family again, because of the intense freedom and connection of nature and music she felt at the Aspen Music School. She found almost providential support through a family connection who got her an emergency audition on the July 4th weekend (in which she included a composition of her own) and immediate acceptance to the Manhattan School of Music, and then to Juilliard for degrees in both piano performance and composition, and later the College of Music, Theater, and Media in Hanover, Germany.

Although Auerbach has mentioned this fact in press extremely rarely, it’s significant that the city she was born in, Chelyabinsk 22, Russia, was not just an ‘industrial’ city, as virtually every biography notes.  It was, as she describes it, “a ‘secret city’ where the atomic weapons of the USSR were manufactured. In my city were the laboratories where the experiments were carried out by the military. Nobody could enter or leave.” (Couto).

Even more significant, Chelyabinsk was the site of the little-known but catastrophic 1957 Kyshtym Nuclear Disaster.  Covered up by the Soviet government until the 1980s, it is now considered the third-worst ever, causing immediate death and widespread lingering effects ever since. The townspeople were forced to clean up with no protection, there was distinct racism in the different fates suffered by different ethnic groups (e.g. ethnic Russians were evacuated, ethnic Tatars and others forced to stay) and the medical records of those affected are still tightly held by the government. It was and continues to be a radiation danger to the area and anywhere on the continent, the wind blows, with flares and coverups as recently as 2017.  Auerbach joked ironically in the interview with Couto that people from Chelyabinsk “glow green in the dark.”

Given the intensely oppressive atmosphere in Chelyabinsk 22, it’s understandable that escape into mythology, which weaves through much of her work, obviously including her first symphony, the Chimera, has also been integral to her experience of the world since her earliest days.

“As a child, I lived in ancient Greece.  The book of myths was my favorite and the world of jealous gods and god-like humans was more real to me than the world outside of my windows, full of bloody red flags (the red of the Soviet flag symbolized the blood of the heroes of the Revolution) and the Soviet-trinity portraits of Lenin-Marx-Engels with the occasional bushy eyebrows of Brezhnev looking at me from the walls of the buildings. The world outside made much more sense through the perspective of the ancient Greek myths, where it was quite common for a power-protective god to devour all his children. ” (This is the beginning of Auerbach’s own very valuable program notes on Icarus, which she created by extracting the last two movements of her first symphony in 2011; more on this in the second blog entry).

The usual story Auerbach tells is that her preoccupation with the liminal, with human and superhuman, with life and death, came from when her Polish nanny would stroll her through the cemetery as a toddler.  But it’s clear that the influence came from more than just the cemetery strolls; not only mythology, music and poetry but also issues of life and death, decay, constraint, repression, and freedom were powerful, constant companions in her formative years.  It’s only natural that they would end up appearing in her music, poetry, and art.

*All blogs by Carolyn Talarr appeared first at the Portland Youth Philharmonic’s website (www.portlandyouthphil.org) on April 19 and April 22, 2019.

Auerbach’s “Dresden – Ode to Peace“ and Jewish spirituality [by Dr. Pablo Vivanco]

Auerbach’s choral work “Dresden – Ode to peace” was commissioned by the Dresden Frauenkirche Foundation and the Sächsische Staatskapelle and premiered on February 14, 2012, in the Semperoper in Dresden, Germany. The work has been dedicated to the “victims of all nationalist movements around the world” by the composer.[1] An important incentive of the “Ode” was, thus, to create a musical monument to the suffering of the victims in past, present, and future. I want to argue that Auerbach has created an important contemporary work of choral music that confronts the contemporary and historical problems created by the issue of nationalist movements by the means of a radically innovative musical language. The various subtexts of Auerbach’s aesthetic language are influenced by the tradition of the Central-European Jewish Enlightenment and it is a work that addresses contemporary issues by a modern and unique array of aesthetic means.  

Introduction to the “Ode to peace”

The “Ode” represents an unusual contribution to the genre of the Requiem: with the exception of the “Kyrie”, the “Lacrimosa” and the “Libera me”, Auerbach has abstained from including the normative elements of the missa profunctis and replaced them by central prayers of the great world religions. The texts appear in Auerbach’s very own compilation and order. Most of the prayers that Auerbach has selected for the “Ode to peace” are prayers where the personal relationship of the worshipper to god is in the foreground of the text, a choice to which we shall turn further below.[2] There is a centrality of the motif of the individual worshipper wishing to spiritually “climb” to the purest realms of reality in Auerbach’s work, her poetry and visual artworks in general. In the Requiem, the drive (or kavanah) of the individual worshipper to be heard by the highest entity with his prayers is being (re)-planted within the most refined traditions of the Abrahamic religions, this is to say, Auerbach takes the listener back to the origins of the (pre-exilic) Judaic traditions of odes (the psalms) as well as to the roots of non-monotheistic cultures. As such, and with this tendency to encompass vast cultural repositories, Auerbach’s “ode to peace” can be called a modern work of reformation, written for a 21st century audience. We encounter some central psalms of the Jewish-Christian liturgy (for example, Psalms 23, 100, and 134: Auerbach is mindful of the fact that they originated in the Babylonian Exile and that the psalm literature was continued in the post-exilic tradition of mourning). There is also the “Pater noster”, the “Hear, oh Israel” (appearing along with the “Kaddish”, the Jewish prayer of mourning) and the “worship to the arch angels” from the Jewish evening prayer, the “Maariv (but influenced by the tradition of Jewish mysticism), all presented in a radically new sound shape. In addition to prayers from Judaism, Christianity and from Islam (the “Fatiha”), Auerbach included central prayers from Buddhism and Hinduism.

The composition and performance of a work where prayers from all world religions are featured in one single choral piece, solemnly performed in the recently renovated Frauenkirche (a symbol of destruction itself!), yet written by a Russian-American Jewish artist, may well represent a subtle counter-version to the often-heard claim of truthfully achieved diversity in our own early 21st century societies.[3] However, mindful of the multilayered symbolism of “Dresden” as a historical place, Auerbach refuses to let the audience identify her work with any concrete historical events or culturally bound memories.[4] Instead, the composer offers a rich venue for the audience to reflect upon the history of persecution, suffering, and martyrdom and she finds innovative ways to deal with the complexity of it by means of her own musical language. The rich texture of Auerbach’s music and references may be shortly, exemplified by one of the main motifs in the Requiem: The “Ode to peace” contains clearly discernible references to sacred music from Dresden. The so-called Dresden “Amen”, a Protestant liturgical tune from the early 1800s, appears all the way through the “Ode to peace”. It has been previously used by Felix Mendelssohn –Bartholdy in his “Reformation Symphony”. Three decades later, it also prominently appeared as a Leitmotiv in Richard Wagner’s “Parsifal”. In the Symphony, the “Amen” is embedded in an orchestral work representing the hopeful and optimistic culture of the rising Christian and Jewish liberal middle classes in Central Europe in the mid-19th century.[5] With quite different (if not opposite) intentions, the composer Richard Wagner used the Dresden “Amen” in his late opera “Parsifal” in an attempt to signify a lasting triumph of German nationalism and political Protestantism over the menacing cultural “threat” of liberal poets and musicians. To do so effectively, the composer brought a medieval mythos of the holy Grail in line with his own desire to “clean” music from the “entrepreneurial abuse” of music.[6] As if commenting on this music historical trajectory, the Dresden Amen appears throughout Auerbach’s Ode: in the archaic sounding opening and, later, in the “Amen” (no. 15) as the materialized “angel of history” who laments the catastrophes that nationalist movements have caused. The counterpoint to this historical trajectory is a restorative understanding of the Jewish Enlightenment’s reflections on the culture of Ancient Jewish temple music.

The Dresden Frauenkirche as a “Prayerhouse of reason”

The Berlin Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn considered the synagogue of the future in his important work “Jerusalem or religious power and Judaism” (1783) as a “prayerhouse of reason”, a place, where, as he pointed out, neither “dissenters” nor the unbelieving pagans or atheists were to be excluded from the ceremony (the philosopher even allows sinners to be accepted into the temple).[7] Moses Mendelssohn, who was at once a Universalist and at the same time an observant Jew, projected his vision of a “Temple of Reason” onto the year 2240 (a year that, as his biographer Alexander Altman noticed, corresponded to the messianic year 6000 in the Jewish calendar.) This embrace of outsiders and dissenters by the Jewish philosopher can be immediately paired with Auerbach’s intentions: The public performance of the “Ode to Peace” in Dresden 2012 can likewise be considered as a bold stage act or the composer’s own a projection of the “prayerhouse of reason” (It is crucial to note Auerbach’s decision to include the Prayer of Father Judge in her Requiem, the priest of the New York fire fighters’ who has been quickly recognized as the official first victim of the attacks from September 11, 2001. Judge has previously in life confessed to have had homosexual inclination).[8] Moreover, the fact that the “Dresden Requiem” has 18 parts (18 equals the word for life –chai – in the Hebrew alphabet – a conscious choice by the composer) gives us a clue for the essentially Utopian or restorative-synthetic dimension of Auerbach’s important choral work.

The thinkers of the Enlightenment were not naïve: they did not assume that reasonable behavior or an encompassing tolerance can be achieved easily by the public and the contemporary composer Auerbach is as little naïve as were her predecessors: In this draft, we can only roughly outline the common premises of Auerbach and Mendelssohn. One important element is the function of the music which is comparable to the function of rituals in Judaism. In his “Jerusalem”, Moses Mendelssohn has also outlined his understanding of the religious function of Jewish laws. The ritual law (such as the halakhic prescription to touch the mezuza on the doorpost) was described by Mendelssohn as educational or didactic tools for the observant Jew, symbolic and gestural daily actions that prompt the practitioner to reflect upon universal divine truths without forcing the believer onto them. Mendelssohn was the first modern Jew who defended the Jewish ritual laws and customs against critics from the outside as an encoded scripture in its own right, a scripture which hints at spiritual contents and truths but doesn’t visualize them (in Mendelssohn’s understanding of the revelation, this was a preventive tool against idolatry).[9] Due to the anti-visual relation between the sign and the signified, performing rituals will trigger questions or pedagogical explanations on spiritual truths and history but no more than that. This anti-visual quality of Jewish rituals is comparable to the relation between tune and text in Auerbach’s requiem. Relatedly, Auerbach stated about her Requiem:

“Perhaps the concept here is to simply open the door to the spiritual references and then each listener can make their own voyage inside. In these subjects, there are no answers only questions, and the question themselves are the answers.” (Lera Auerbach in an email correspondence with me on March 19, 2018)

Auerbach’s work is a guide for the contemporary listener, but there is no concrete associative direction the audience will be led to take. The music in the prayer-house of reason is therefore analogous to the function of Jewish rituals in Moses Mendelssohn’s philosophy.[10] But in what respect is this “restorative”? In another study, Mendelssohn suggested that liturgical services at the time of the first Jewish temple period were less structured and less orderly performed than anything that came later.[11] Mendelssohn suggested that the original, pre-exile Hebrew poetry followed a certain “natural” path of expression of the praying individual. Hebrew poetry has been more spontaneous and improvisational and therefore lacked any clearly discernible metrical form. This natural and disorderly quality is not only present in Auerbach’s quite personal compilation of the prayers in the “Ode to peace”. Every prayer that Auerbach has set into music also follows the rhythmical pattern of the words of the original language. Auerbach’s musical rendition follows the accentuation and word rhythms inscribed in the Hebrew original. By doing so, she is taking the listener back to the original, but by now forgotten style of individual praying and expression at practice in the Jewish antiquity.

Second, Mendelssohn’s holistic approach to encompass and reach out to anyone who desires entry into the prayer-house of reason is present in another technique of composition in the “Ode to peace”. As Mendelssohn points out in his own work, the Ancient Hebrew psalm literature intended to move the listener so strongly that the he becomes the observer of his own emotional responses. The music of the psalms, Mendelssohn points out, underlines and supports the passions reflected in the religious poetry. The music doesn’t merely illustrate the text but infixes the spiritual component in the mind and heart.”[12] The music has both the function to animate the listener and to impress him so strongly as to prompt him to reflect on the more abstract spiritual contents. When Auerbach uses the famed scale from the Dresden Amen in number no. 15 of the requiem, the upward moving cadenza mirrors efforts of the praying individual to “ascend” to the divine sphere with all his individual strength. The music energizes him further.

Auerbach is an artist and musician who has deeply thought about the therapeutical and energetic effects of music and its quality to appeal to personal emotions.  In the context of a modern spiritual work, these are energetic traces of a “musical religion” that Auerbach intentionally left in the score and which need to be further analyzed.

[1] Auerbach: Dresden Requiem (Score).

[2] It is important to note that Auerbach left out the “dies irae”, the portrayal of the divine “day of wrath” from her work.

[3] European citizens are nowadays often confronted with the idea that our civilization firmly rests on the pillars of Christianity and Judaism only. Auerbach’s Requiem reminds us to the fact that our vision of a realized cohabitation of the religious cultures is, at best, slightly flawed.

[4] The city was subjected to four atrocious bomb raids on February 13 and 15 1945. Moreover, the square around the Frauenkirche has also, since the 1990s, disturbingly become an annual gathering place for rightwing extremists on February 14. And, finally, the city of Dresden has had an important “seat” in the cultural history of the Lutheran Reformation. Ther are concrete references in the work to this “reformist” aspect in Dresden’s history.

[5] For Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and his generation, Protestantism represented far more than simply a “confessional creed”: the culture of the Reformation, its turn to individual understanding of religious spirituality reflected a nearly Utopian belief of having achieved full emancipation among deeply secular (or spiritually fallen?) Jews: the premise of full emancipation for Jews and other religious minorities in the German-speaking lands.

[6] This history of adaptation of the “Amen” and, indirectly, the history of anti-Semitism, is reflected in the provisional stages of Auerbach’s Requiem. In an early stage of the work, Auerbach intended to include passages from Martin Luther’s infamous “On the Jews and their lies” (1543) in her work – a text that has been considered as a blueprint of the destruction of the European Jews in WWII.

[7] Moses Mendelssohn: Jerusalem order religiöse Macht und Judentum. In: Alexander Altmann (ed.): Gesammelte Schriften, Volume 8, pp. 21 passim.

[8] Dresden Requiem, No.6.

[9] The holy scripture is inside the mezuzah. The believer only touches the outside box, it becomes a daily mnemotechnical spiritual tool.

[10] Moses Mendelssohn’s commentary to Exodus 15 (the song at the reed sea) in Gesammelte Schriften, Volume 3.

[11] According to Mendelssohn, there is a strong dividing line between pre-exilic and the post-Babylonian exile manifestation of the Ancient Jewish religious liturgy and the temple service.

[12] Mendelssohn: Gesammelte Schriften (ed. Alexander Altmann), Volume 3, Page 191.


© 2018 Auerbach Center