The Third Mother/Mothers’ Lament was written in honor of the late journalist Daniel Pearl and is dedicated to his parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl. Originally premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the direction of Maestro Grant Gershon, the work was awarded First Prize in the Cincinnati Camerata Composition Competition.
“The poem was close to my heart since childhood, and when Daniel was kidnapped, it was a natural choice for me to set it to music. From their grief and sorrow, Judea and Ruth established The Daniel Pearl Foundation, which promotes cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications. I feel that this piece, with its harmonic and melodic elements, unites the mothers of the world who call for peace and love, and it is my sincere hope that The Third Mother/Mothers’ Lament will become an integral part of the Daniel Pearl Music days.״
Sharon Farber, Composer
“...Her writing for chorus displayed great craft, and I was struck by the way in which she was able to meld aspect of Jewish liturgical music with echoes of the current generation of Baltic composers to create unique and flexible language all her own...the response of the audience, performers and critics alike (to the performance of her piece The Third Mother/Mothers’ lament by the Los Angeles Master Chorale) was overwhelming. This is clearly a work of great emotional power that resonates through its inner intensity and restraint."
Grant Gershon, Conductor and Music Director, The Los Angeles Master Chorale
"Her winning piece,“The Third Mother/Mothers’ Lament” stood out, and was the clear winner...We especially liked the choral writing, the text and the timely topic...and the act that theHebrew underlay is phonetic, and easily accessible to an American chorus... were other plusse.“
Richard Arnet, Organizer and Facilitator of the Cincinnati Composition Competition.
By Nathan Alterman
Translation by Robert Friend
Mothers are singing. Mothers are singing.
A fist of thunder bangs down.
Strong silence.Red-bearded lamps are marchingIn the empty streets in rows.
Autumn mortally ill, weary,
rain without beginning or end.
No candle in the window, no light in the world
I hear one of them say:“He was here but yesterday.
I shall kiss his every fingernail and finger.
I see a tall ship in a calm bay,
And my son from the topmast hanging.”
And the second one says:
“My son is tall and quiet.
I am sewing a holiday shirt for my dear.
He’s walking in the fields. He will soon be here.
And he holds in his heart a lead bullet.”
And the third mother says with her wondering eyes:
“No one was dearer or kinder ... Who shall weep when he comes if I cannot see?
I do not know where to find him.”
And she bathed her eyelashes with weeping.
Perhaps he is only resting.
Perhaps in foreign places
He measures the path of Your world, O God,
Like a wondering monk, with kisses.