Paul Ben-Haim „Joram“

Münchner MotettenChor e. V., Germany

Composer and conductor Paul Ben-Haim was born in Munich in 1897 as Paul Frankenburger. As the son of a liberal Jewish academic he emigrated to Palestine in 1933 where he took a Hebrew name. Ben-Haim is seen as the first creator of characteristically Israeli music. The composers of Israel’s younger generation are almost all students of his. Ben-Haim’s work as a composer is marked from the very beginning by a very close relationship with German literature. In Munich he set texts by Eichendorff, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Christian Morgenstern to music. The text of “Joram” follows Rudolf Borchardt’s “Das Buch Joram” published in 1907. “Joram” is a Job-like story whose strict style links up with the language of the Old Testament. Joram, a devout Jew, suffers great injustice at no fault of his own and accuses God in his desperation but then ultimately reconciles himself with Him. Set to music in 1932/1933 the parallels to the events of the day are moving. Linked on the one hand to late German romanticism which Frankenburger felt strongly affiliated to (Mahler, Richard Strauss) and on the other containing Jewish and oriental components in its rhythm and melody –  the music is rooted both in German culture (which Frankenburger felt very close to before his emigration) and in Jewish culture. Frankenburger completed the work three weeks after the National Socialists seized power. Although he considered it his main work, it was never performed during his lifetime.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) has invited Munich’s MotettenChor to perform “Joram” – with them and under the baton of MMC artistic director Hayko Siemens – in the original German in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem in April 2012. The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation is supporting this concert which offers the opportunity to debut one of the greatest works of the German-Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim in Israel.

April 3rd 2012 Premiere
Tel Aviv, Israel

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