ONLY A BOOK
ONLY A BOOK
SIX VARIATIONS ON AN ORIGINAL THEME FOR CHAMBER OR SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA
Published by Score By Score
THEME AND 5 VARIATIONS, 26 MIN
#Orchestral

 

The  pieces  consist  of  five  variations,  dealing  with  different  time  periods  in  the  history  of  the  Jewish  people.  The  first  and  main  theme  is eternal,  one that would follow the people of the book wherever they go-it is always present, like the book we’ve been carrying with us for ages.

 

The  first  variation, “The  beginning”is  relatively  positive  although  full  of  yearning, and  describes, in a way, the “Golden  age” of the Jewish people, when they were respected and allowed to practice their faith. The Pizzicato at the beginning of the variation, however, conveys some hesitation, some fear of future persecution. 


The  second  theme, “Darkness”is  related to  the  darkest  periods of the Jewish people, from the inquisition to the Holocaust to today, even. It is dramatic, angry, frustrated, with am urgent middle part, and ends on a  “sour” note,  which connects us to the next segment:“To Always Remember” was premiered in 2005, at the Main Synagogue of Berlin, as a commission to commemorate 60 years since the end of the war.

 

“Mourning”,the third variation, is  exactly it.  With its  sparse beginning, the music is sad, mourning the life of so many, and conveys loneliness and  disbelief.

 

The fourth variation, “Rebirth”,expresses the time  after the mourning, when slowly there is a movement, hesitant but growing stronger, to go to where the Jewish people are welcomed, where home is. From the Diaspora they come, drifting like water in many rivers going towards one big ocean.

 

“New beginning” is the last variation, and it portrays the never-ending hope for new times, for joy and happiness. This elation is getting stronger and faster, building excitement and hope for a better future.

 

...And throughout all these blessings, heartaches, sadness and happiness, the one thing that always made it possible to carry on, to move forward and to thrive, was this book, the book of life. Because of this book, we live.

 

 

 

POEM BY

UNKNOWN

 

This people embarked on a long journey

and in its hand...only a book.

Some people have traveled with gold and silver,

with diamonds and jewels:

we, with this book.

Some people have traveled with horse and chariots,

with might and splendor:
we, with this book.

Some people have traveled with sword and armor,

with trumpets and flags, with spears and shields:

we, with this book.
Some people never traveled. They stayed home,

rooted in their land, blossoming in isolation, and then decaying:

we journeyed...with this book.
This is the book for which Israel was chosen despite

the envy of the angels, and the resentment of the nations.
This is the book that placed man above beast,

that made God’s glory the human life.
This is the book that proclaimed: One God, One humanity, one world.

This is the book that gave human dignity its origin,

Social security its birth; and to the humbly born

and the cruelly treated, their claim to justice and to care.

This people embarked on a long journey and

in its hand... only a book.
Thanks to this book, we live.

 

 

“Only a Book” was inspired by a beautiful poem by the same name. The poem portrays the powerful tie between the Jewish people and the book of faith.