Part II, Dialogues between Traditional Religious Texts and Modern Music, Literature and Art: A Classification

Part II offers a classification of the 70 works of art, determined by Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of dialogue and by ideas from T.S. Eliot’s essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” discussed in Chapter 1.1.

To recapitulate, the artist’s point of departure in the first category, “The Present is directed by the Past,” is a traditional religious text, in most cases a Bible verse or an element from the Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur prayer books: a prayer, the system of 100 shofar blasts, the shofar blasts themselves or the shofar timbre. In this category, the modern work of art, the Present, is determined by the traditional text, the Past.

In the second category, “The Present is indirectly directed by the Past,” the artist is inspired by another work of art, which itself belongs to the Past, or for its part was inspired by traditional religious texts from the Past. The work of art may be an adaptation of another work of art, such as the elaboration of a song in an instrumental composition or the adaptation of a play in an opera.

In the third category, “The Past is altered by the Present,” the artist’s point of departure is what Bakhtin calls his “own question,” an idea or problem that occupies his mind; in his work of art, he confronts this own question with a traditional religious text, which deals with a similar problem and in one way or another provides interesting material for comparison. The artist may enter into a dialogue with traditional religious texts from his own point of view on tradition or modernization; he may dedicate himself to a tradition that is dear to him, set his face against a petrified tradition or propagate the modernization of shofar tradition. Many “own questions” (Bakhtin) of artists concern the Shoah, or the horrors of war or terrorism. Other important questions originate from religious confrontations within Judaism, of Judaism and other religions, or of religiosity and secularity. Finally, traditional shofar texts play a role in the work of artists who are concerned about a better world. As a result of the artist’s perception in the Present, the traditional religious text from the Past will never be read the same way. Some works of art fit into more than one category and a section of a work may belong in a different category from the entire work.

 

1. The Present is directed by the Past

 

The Bible: Verses with a Shofar

Exodus 19 (the theophany)

4.23. Thomas Mann, novella The Tables of the Law (1943)

4.51. Yechiel Granatstein, biographical chapter Rosh haShanah in Skarżysko (1991)

Joshua 6 (the battle of Jericho)

4.68. Jordi Savall, instrumental composition Fanfare of Jericho, 1200 B.C. (2008)

4.18. Felix Nussbaum, painting Entombment (Organ-Grinders) (1933)

Psalm 81 (praise of God)

4.48. Ofer Ben-Amots, cantata Psalm 81 (1989)

Psalm 150 (praise of God)

4.33. Ben Shahn, painting Third Allegory (1955)

First Chronicles 13 (David brings the Ark to Jerusalem)

4.33. Ben Shahn, painting Third Allegory (1955)

 

The Bible: Verses without a Shofar

Genesis 22 (Abraham’s sacrifice)

4.45. Yehuda Amichai, poem The Real Hero (1983)

Exodus 20 (the prohibition of images)

4.16. Arnold Schoenberg, opera Moses und Aron (1932)

Exodus 32 (the golden calf)

4.16. Arnold Schoenberg, opera Moses und Aron (1932)

Leviticus 5 (animal sacrifices)

4.53. Eliyahu Sidi, painting From Tractate Rosh Ha-Shanah (1994)

Deuteronomy 17 (the ideal king)

4.9. Ernest Bloch, orchestral composition Schelomo (1916)

First Kings 1-11 (Solomon’s kingship)

4.9. Ernest Bloch, orchestral composition Schelomo (1916)

Second Kings 2 (Elijah’s ascension)

4.55. Judith Shatin, electro-acoustic composition Elijah’s Chariot (1996)

Isaiah 52 (the deliverance of Jerusalem)

4.34. Marc Chagall, etching The Deliverance of Jerusalem (1956)

Ezekiel 10, Joel 2, Jonah 2, Job 28 (four elements, four directions of the wind)

4.59. Henry Brant, composition Prophets (2000)

Jonah 2 (Jonah’s prayer)

4.56. Bob Gluck, electronic composition Jonah under the Sea (1997)

4.59. Henry Brant, composition Prophets (2000)

Psalm 92 (praise of God)

4.5. Edward Elgar, oratorio The Apostles (1903)

Psalm 114 (the exodus from Egypt)

4.7. Ernest Bloch, cantata Psalm 114 (1912)

Ecclesiastes 1-2 (scepticism)

4.9. Ernest Bloch, orchestral composition Schelomo (1916)

New Testament: Luke 6 (Jesus’ prayer on the mountain, sunrise)

4.5. Edward Elgar, oratorio The Apostles (1903)

 

Archaeological Find

Stone from the Temple Mount with inscription regarding the shofar

4.42. Paul Celan, poem The Shofar Place (1969)

 

Mishnah

Rosh Ha-Shanah 3 (the shofar)

4.44. Yehezkel Braun, cantata Festive Horns (1977)

4.53. Eliyahu Sidi, painting From Tractate Rosh Ha-Shanah (1994)

4.38. Herman Berlinski, cantata Shofar Service (1964)

Zevaḥim (animal sacrifices)

4.53. Eliyahu Sidi, painting From Tractate Rosh Ha-Shanah (1994)

Kinnim (bird sacrifices)

4.53. Eliyahu Sidi, painting From Tractate Rosh Ha-Shanah (1994)

 

Talmud

Yoma 28b (dawn)

4.5. Edward Elgar, oratorio The Apostles (1903)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Prayers

Rosh Ha-Shanah (Malkhuyyot, Zikhronot, Shofarot)

4.38. Herman Berlinski, cantata Shofar Service (1964)

Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur (U-Netanneh Tokef)

4.20. Uriel Birnbaum, drawing A Great Shofar Sounds (1935)

Yom Kippur (Neʿilah)

4.13. H. Leyvik, poem The Wolf: A Chronicle (1920)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Blasts: Quotation

4.17. Else Lasker-Schüler, play Arthur Aronymus and His Ancestors (1932)
4.55. Judith Shatin, electro-acoustic composition Elijah’s Chariot (1996)
4.10. S. Anski, play Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) (1919)
4.57. Shulamit Ran, opera Between Two Worlds (1998)
4.35. Miklós Rózsa, film music Ben-Hur (1959)
4.5. Edward Elgar, oratorio The Apostles (1903)
4.64. Osvaldo Golijov, composition Tekyah (2004)
4.59. Henry Brant, composition Prophets (2000)
4.63. Tsippi Fleischer, orchestral composition Symphony No. 5 “Israeli-Jewish Collage” (2003)
4.68. Jordi Savall, instrumental composition Fanfare of Jericho, 1200 B.C. (2008)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Blasts: Transformation

4.47. Alvin Curran, electro-acoustic composition Crystal Psalms (1988)
4.55. Judith Shatin, electro-acoustic composition Elijah’s Chariot (1996)
4.56. Bob Gluck, electronic composition Jonah under the Sea (1997)
4.67. Andy Haas, electro-acoustic album Humanitarian War (2006)
4.62. Robert Normandeau, electronic composition Chorus: To the Victims of 9/11, 2001 (2002)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Blasts: Transformation in Other Instruments

4.43. Alexander Goehr, music theater piece Sonata about Jerusalem (1970)
4.61. Jeff Hamburg, orchestral composition Tekiah (2001)
4.54. Luciano Berio, cantata Shofar (1995)
4.44. Yehezkel Braun, cantata Festive Horns (1977)
4.7. Ernest Bloch, cantata Psalm 114 (1912)
4.9. Ernest Bloch, orchestral composition Schelomo (1916)
4.55. Judith Shatin, electro-acoustic composition Elijah’s Chariot (1996)
4.15. Aaron Copland, piano trio Vitebsk (1929)
4.49. Babette Koblenz, instrumental composition Shofar (1989)
4.48. Ofer Ben-Amots, cantata Psalm 81 (1988)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Timbre: Imitation in Other Instruments

4.56. Bob Gluck, electronic composition Jonah under the Sea (1997)
4.58. Giulio Castagnoli, bassoon solo Shofar (1998)
4.49. Babette Koblenz, instrumental composition Shofar (1989)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Blasts: Onomatopoeia

4.14. Israel Zangwill, poem “Our Own”: A Cry across the Atlantic (1920)
4.24. Yehuda Haim Perahia, poem A Little Light (1944)

 

Prayer Books: Shofar Blasts: Reference

4.26. Nelly Sachs, poem Someone Blew the Shofar (1947)
4.25. Avrom Sutskever, poem Resurrection (1945)
4.46. Geoffrey Hartman, poem Elegy at the Bodensee (1984)

 

Prayer Books: The System of Shofar Blasts

4.66. Stefan Heucke, opera The Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz (2006)
4.65. Avraham Loewenthal, painting 100 Sounds of the Shofar (2005)
4.38. Herman Berlinski, cantata Shofar Service (1964)

 

2. The Present is indirectly directed by the Past

 

Adaptation of Another Work

Obadiah the Proselyte, autobiography (12th century)
Samuel ben Yaḥya, chronicle (12th century)
Recha Freier/Alexander Goehr, libretto (1970)

4.43. Alexander Goehr, music theater piece Sonata about Jerusalem (1970)

folksong Eliyahu Ha-Navi

4.55. Judith Shatin, electro-acoustic composition Elijah’s Chariot (1996)

Lew Wallace, novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880)
William Wyler, film Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1959)

4.35. Miklós Rózsa, film music Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1959)

Moris Rozenfeld, poem The Creation of Man (1898)

4.3. Ephraim Moses Lilien, drawing The Creation of Man (1902)

4.10. S. Anski, play Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) (1919)

4.57. Shulamit Ran, opera Between Two Worlds (1998)

4.42. Paul Celan, poem The Shofar Place (1969)

4.54. Luciano Berio, cantata Shofar (1995)
 

Inspiration from Another Work

Sophocles, play Antigone (441 BCE)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, play Nathan the Wise (1779)

4.62. Robert Normandeau, electronic composition Chorus: To the Victims of 9/11, 2001 (2002)

Dante, epic The Divine Comedy (14th century)

4.28. Primo Levi, memoirs If This Is a Man (1947)

Claudio Monteverdi, Sonata sopra Sancta Maria from the cantata Vespers (1610)

4.43. Alexander Goehr, music theater piece Sonata about Jerusalem (1970)

Gustav Schwab, poem The Horseman and Lake Constance (1826)

4.46. Geoffrey Hartman, poem Elegy at the Bodensee (1984)

4.10. S. Anski, play Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) (1919)

4.15. Aaron Copland, piano trio Vitebsk (1929)

 

3. The Past is altered by the Present

 

Tradition and Modernization: Defense of Tradition

4.4. Yitskhok Leybush Perets, short story The Shofar (1902)
4.39. Abel Herzberg, short story The History of My Shofar (1965)
4.2. Moris Rozenfeld, poem Sephirah (1898)
4.14. Israel Zangwill, poem “Our Own”: A Cry across the Atlantic (1920)
4.47. Alvin Curran, electro-acoustic composition Crystal Psalms (1988)

 

Tradition and Modernization: Opposition to Tradition

4.52. Richard Chess, poem “With a Blast of the Ram’s Horn” (1994)
4.69. Sarah Lindsay, poem Zucchini Shofar (2008)
4.50. Alvin Curran, electro-acoustic composition Shofar der Zeit (1990)
4.18. Felix Nussbaum, painting Entombment (Organ-Grinders) (1933)

 

Tradition and Modernization: Modern Technology

4.50. Alvin Curran, electro-acoustic composition Shofar der Zeit (1990)
4.60. Bob Gluck, electro-acoustic composition Shofaralong (2001)
4.56. Bob Gluck, electronic composition Jonah under the Sea (1997)
4.67. Andy Haas, electro-acoustic album Humanitarian War (2006)
4.37. Yiẓḥak Oren, short story The Monument of the Resurrection (1962)

 

Tradition and Modernization: Modern Business

4.8. Sholem Aleykhem, short story Mr. Green Has a Job (1915)
4.19. Bruno Schulz, novel chapter The Night of the Great Season (1934)
 

The Shoah: Prelude

4.14. Israel Zangwill, poem “Our Own”: A Cry across the Atlantic (1920)
4.17. Else Lasker-Schüler, play Arthur Aronymus and His Ancestors (1932)
 

The Shoah: Pogroms

4.21. Kurt Weill, oratorio The Eternal Road (1936)
4.47. Alvin Curran, electro-acoustic composition Crystal Psalms (1988)
 

The Shoah: Violation of the Ten Commandments

4.23. Thomas Mann, novella The Tables of the Law (1943)
4.36. Herman Wald, monument Memorial to the Six Million (1959)
 

The Shoah: The Shofar in Concentration Camps

4.39. Abel Herzberg, autobiographical story The History of My Shofar (1965)
4.51. Yechiel Granatstein, biographical chapter Rosh haShanah in Skarżysko (1991)
 

The Shoah: Sanctification by the Shofar

4.64. Osvaldo Golijov, instrumental composition Tekyah (2004)
4.51. Yechiel Granatstein, biographical chapter Rosh haShanah in Skarżysko (1991)
4.39. Abel Herzberg, autobiographical story The History of My Shofar (1965)
4.66. Stefan Heucke, opera The Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz (2006)
 

The Shoah: Strength from Belief

4.27. Arnold Schoenberg, cantata A Survivor from Warsaw (1947)
4.51. Yechiel Granatstein, biographical chapter Rosh haShanah in Skarżysko (1991)
4.26. Nelly Sachs, poem Someone Blew the Shofar (1947)
4.39. Abel Herzberg, autobiographical story The History of My Shofar (1965)
 

The Shoah: Depression after Liberation

4.24. Yehuda Haim Perahia, poem A Little Light (1944)
4.25. Avrom Sutskever, poem Resurrection (1945)
 

The Shoah: Commemoration

4.31. Paul Goodman, story A Memorial Synagogue (1949)
4.36. Herman Wald, monument Memorial to the Six Million (1959)
4.70. Manuel Herz, synagogue Meor Hagola – Beth Knesset Magenza (2010)
4.54. Luciano Berio, cantata Shofar (1995)
4.64. Osvaldo Golijov, instrumental composition Tekyah (2004)
 

Violence: War

4.40. Naomi Shemer, song Jerusalem of Gold (1967)
4.41. Yehuda Amichai, poem Jerusalem is a port city (1968)
4.45. Yehuda Amichai, poem The Real Hero (1983)
4.67. Andy Haas, electro-acoustic album Humanitarian War (2006)
 

Violence: Terrorism

4.67. Andy Haas, electro-acoustic album Humanitarian War (2006)
4.62. Robert Normandeau, electronic composition Chorus: To the Victims of 9/11, 2001 (2002)
4.45. Yehuda Amichai, poem The Real Hero (1983)
 

Religious Confrontations: Transgression in Judaism

4.10. S. Anski, play Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) (1919)
4.13. H. Leyvik, poem The Wolf: A Chronicle (1920)
4.32. Amir Gilboa, poem Raḥav (1950)
4.29. Der Nister, novel The Family Mashber (1939-1948)
 

Religious Confrontations: Religiosity and Secularism in Judaism

4.25. Avrom Sutskever, poem Resurrection (1945)
4.11. Yoysef Tshaykov, drawing Dawn (1919)
4.63. Tsippi Fleischer, orchestral composition Symphony No. 5 “Israeli-Jewish Collage” (2003)
4.50. Alvin Curran, electro-acoustic composition Shofar der Zeit (1990)
 

Religious Confrontations: Judaism and Nature Religion

4.12. Shaul Tshernikhovski, poem Did I come too soon . . . ? (1919)
 

Religious Confrontations: Judaism and Christianity

4.17. Else Lasker-Schüler, play Arthur Aronymus and His Ancestors (1932)
4.54. Luciano Berio, cantata Shofar (1995)
4.5. Edward Elgar, oratorio The Apostles (1903)
4.35. Miklós Rózsa, film music Ben-Hur (1959)
4.46. Geoffrey Hartman, poem Elegy at the Bodensee (1984)
 

Religious Confrontations: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

4.62. Robert Normandeau, electronic composition Chorus: To the Victims of 9/11, 2001 (2002)
 

Religious Confrontations: Secularism and Myths

4.22. Kenneth Fearing, poem Afternoon of a Pawnbroker (1943)
 

A Better World: Messianism

4.37. Yiẓḥak Oren, short story The Monument of the Resurrection (1962)
4.21. Kurt Weill, oratorio The Eternal Road (1936)
4.25. Avrom Sutskever, poem Resurrection (1945)
4.30. Paul Goodman, parable The Messiah-Blower (1948)
4.22. Kenneth Fearing, poem Afternoon of a Pawnbroker (1943)
4.6. Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik, poem And it shall be when the days grow long… (1908)
4.43. Alexander Goehr, music theater piece Sonata about Jerusalem (1970)
4.5. Edward Elgar, oratorio The Apostles (1903)
 

A Better World: Zionism

4.3. Ephraim Moses Lilien, drawing The Creation of Man (1902)
4.40. Naomi Shemer, song Jerusalem of Gold (1967)
4.41. Yehuda Amichai, poem Jerusalem is a port city (1968)
 

A Better World: Socialism

4.1. Yitskhok Leybush Perets, short story Bontshe Shvayg (1894)
4.11. Yoysef Tshaykov, drawing Dawn (1919)
 

A Better World: Environmentalism

4.45. Yehuda Amichai, poem The Real Hero (1983)
4.69. Sarah Lindsay, poem Zucchini Shofar (2008)
4.63. Tsippi Fleischer, orchestral composition Symphony No. 5 “Israeli-Jewish Collage” (2003)
 

A Better World: Respect

4.17. Else Lasker-Schüler, play Arthur Aronymus and His Ancestors (1932)
4.62. Robert Normandeau, electronic composition Chorus: To the Victims of 9/11, 2001 (2002)
4.63. Tsippi Fleischer, orchestral composition Symphony No. 5 “Israeli-Jewish Collage” (2003)
4.68. Jordi Savall, instrumental composition Fanfare of Jericho, 1200 B.C. (2008)
 

Contents

Next Chapter

Glossary