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Clemencic KABBALA

Oratorio in the Hebrew language

Clemencic Consort: 5 singers (2 CT, 2 T, B), cornetto or trumpet, 3 trombones, 2 percussionists

col legno/WW 1CD 31861 [recorded in Friuli, Italy July 1992; 63 mins]

Belatedly released, this 1992 live recording of René Clemencic's Hebrew Oratorio makes for a riveting and unique listening experience.

A year older than the composer, who was born in February 1928 (better known in UK as an early music specialist and pioneer, recorder virtuoso and clavichordist) I am pleased to have survived to hear it and trust he remains in good health?

To catch up with him, see his biography in English, his vast discography with the Clemencic Consort and, quite new to me, René Clemencic as a Composer.

Clemencic's Kabbala is nothing if not ambitious ! It is a thorough exposition of the mystiques of the tradition of godly things, Jewish mysticism. The texts (some of them hard to follow, others "not sung, serving as an aid to understand the music" taken from the Dead Sea scrolls. They address humankind as such and its path through the world, its fundamental "existential dereliction", its fundamental exposure (= exile!), its distance from God and from its own true self, its existential development and finally the "return to the front" to the heavenly Jerusalem. Clemencic has also used "various kinds of solmisation and the acoustic transformation of Kabbalistic numerical structures to a large extent to find, not invent, my tonal material. In keeping with the existential meaning of the text, however, the essential character of this oratorio is vigorous, purposeful and dramatic".

A rich brew and in sound arresting and in parts overwhelming. The instrumentation given above gives a clue; the listing below, especially of the percussion instruments, gives a foretaste of what to expect:








Recommended strongly to MP's musical explorers.

Peter Grahame woolf