composition

Natati Lifaneka (נָתַתִּי, לְפָנֶיךָ)

for Clarinet, Violin, and Cello

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Ronald, Adrienne, and Lisa Caravan
  • Year completed
    2018
  • Year revised
  • Timing
    9:00
  • Catalog number
    276
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Natati Lifaneka was begun on August 7, 2018 and completed ten days later. I wrote this work in gratitude to the dedicatees, clarinetist Ronald L. Caravan, and two of his daughters, violinist Adrienne R. Caravan and cellist Lisa R. Caravan, for their putting together a recital of my music at Bucknell University. The work was premiered at this recital by them in January 27, 2019. I sought to personalize this work for them by employing the musical notes corresponding to letters in their full names in measure 77. The title of the work is a Hebrew phrase drawn from Deuteronomy chapter 30. It can mean "I have set (or placed) before you" or "Which I have given in your presence," and refers to the charge given by Moses to his people in the convocation he called as they were about to enter Canaan, the Promised Land. In this chapter, the leader of God's chosen people lays out two paths for them, either the path of obedience--one that would be attended by his blessing--or the path of disobedience that would precipitate a curse and judgment upon his people. The single-movement work is partitioned into seven sections, in each of which I have attempted to portray events from this portion of the history of the ancient Israelites. The first section, bold in character, is entitled "The Convocation of Moses," in which he assembles together the entire nation to hear his charge. The next two sections are both drawn from Deuteronomy 29:29. "The Secret Things of the Lord" is very mysterious and refers to the unknowable things that God reserves to himself, and "The Things Revealed" the commands that God reveals to his people in Scripture to motivate them to obedience. This brief section has a regular pulse and intertwining melodic lines. "Choose Life" follows with a depiction of the charge by Moses to faithful obedience. This section is constructed with lively and sometimes upbeat figuartion, and leads directly into a very somber and sometimes dissonant section, "But if Your Heart Turns Away," a warning against the infraction of God's laws. The sixth section, "The Song of Moses" is the great prophet's somber reflection on the coming calamities upon his people if they do disobey, and is formed from simple and direct melodic lines given in turn to each of the three instruments. The concluding "The Blessing of Moses" portrays God's promise of blessing to an obedient people through exuberant themes set in a dance idiom. This final section contains the most overtly Jewish music in the work, and its effervescent (and occasional klezmer) nature, likely courtesy of my Jewish great-great grandmother contributing a small number of Abrahamic genes to my makeup, has surfaced to conclude this otherwise largely somber work.

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