Chai for Flute, Cello, and Harp
I am very excited to be working with Helen Rifas, principal harpist of the Winston-Salem Symphony, to compose a Flute, Cello, and Harp trio. I plan to have the work finished in October 2012 with recordings to follow.
Chai is the Hebrew word for Life. The letters of Chai, from the Hebrew alphabet, Chet and Yod, have a numerical significance and sum of 18. It is a Jewish custom to give monetary gifts in increments of 18, symbolically imparting a blessing of long life and prosperity. Helen (the Harpist and commissioner) was very interested in making the commission number be a multiple of 18 and also told me a story about how her father sang "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific (Rodgers and Hammerstein) to her mother at their 50th Anniversary party. South Pacific premiered the year they met and married. Chai is written in memory of Helen’s parents, Bertram and Bernice Rifas.
Therefore, I have implemented the number 18 into the piece, along with short fragments of the first melodic line of "Some Enchanted Evening." Some of the phrases have 18 beats, some have 18 measures, some of the harp glissandos have 18 notes. The piece is 162 measures long, which is a multiple of 18. The piece is 9 minutes long, half of 18. The amalgamation of these two ideas (18 and "Some Enchanted Evening") have in turn created an extremely relaxing and soothing piece of music for Flute, Cello, and Harp.
Recording will be uploaded soon...