The Israeli Vocal Ensemble is opening its season with a rarely performed Membra Jesu Nostri (The Limbs of our Jesus) – a cycle of seven cantatas composed by Dieterich Buxtehude.
Yuval Benozer, the founder and music director of the ensemble says that “this is an opportunity to listen live to a rarely performed gem by an outstanding and lesser known composer. Chronologically, Buxtehude has stayed in the shade of J.S. Bach, but I believe that this particular piece is as powerful as Bach’s Passions.”
Benozer explained that the piece, based on a popular Medieval poem with addition of Biblical verses, is divided into seven parts, each addressed to a different part of Christ’s crucified body: feet, knees, hands, sides, breast, heart, and face.
“The music is divided between soloists and the choir. It is simple but not simplistic. The piece goes far beyond the Biblical story and relates to basic human feelings, such as suffering, empathy, compassion and goodness. Everybody can easily identify with them, since human emotions coupled with beautiful music wield tremendous power over humans.”
The conductor says that successful Israeli male alto Alon Harari is the only guest artist. “Most of the arias are performed by the ensemble members: they are one minute long and closer to simple Italian songs, rather than to arias, which are familiar to us from, say, Handel’s monumental operas. This is the early Baroque, mind you.”
The Barrocade Ensemble accompanies the performance of the 65 minutes long piece.
This is the first (relatively) post-corona season of the Israeli Vocal Ensemble. Yet during the Big Cultural Drought, the musicians didn’t waste their precious time. To hone their vocal skills, they worked in small ensembles, such as quartets and quintets. Also, due to impossibility to perform live, the ensemble, to reach its listeners at home, was forced to approach the most advanced digital tools.
“We live-stream our concerts, which are available to our subscription holders on our new website. I believe that quality-wise, our broadcasts are as good as those by the renowned Mezzo TV channel,” concludes Benozer.
The concerts will take place on Thursday in Ra’anana, on October 16 in Haifa and on October 18 in Tel Aviv (live-streamed).
For reservations, visit the website or call 074-7012112.