el is to:el (2022)

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World Premiere – June 24, 2022

National Orchestral Institute and Festival, University of Maryland

Linus Ip & Santiago Jolly, conductors

 

el is to:el, commissioned by the National Orchestral Institute and Festival, was inspired by a 16th-century Persian synagogue wall located in the Jewish Museum of New York. An inscription containing two Biblical quotes appears on this wall; one comes from Psalms 5:8 and the other from Psalms 118:20, two texts familiar to me from my childhood. There is, however, a discrepancy in the first quote. The Hebrew word אל (el), which could be translated to either “to” or “G-d,” was inserted into the inscription. Various parameters in my piece are directly and indirectly informed by various aspects of the wall, namely: the abstract, yet representative definition of the preposition “to,” the concept of entering a space, and a collection of numbers and proportions derived from the Psalms’ numeric classifications.

 

ואני ברוב חסדך אבא אל ביתך אשתחוה אל היכל קדשך ביראתך

But as for me, in the abundance of Thy lovingkindness will I come into Thy house: I will bow down toward Thy holy temple in fear of thee (Psalms 5:8)

 

זה השער להשם צדיקים יבאו בו

This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter (Psalms 118:20)