ḥalil (Flute): Nocturne for Flute, Percussion and Piano
Premiere recording of the chamber version
Premiere (orchestral version): May 27, 1981
Jean-Pierre Rampal, flute, with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer
The composer’s program note says, “This work is dedicated ‘To the Spirit of Yadin and to His Fallen Brothers.’ The reference is to Yadin Tannenbaum, a nineteen-year-old Israeli flutist who, in 1973, at the height of his musical powers, was killed in his tank in the Sinai.” Bernstein was reluctant to reveal that the pyrotechnical cadenza section depicted the slaughter of the Israeli soldier, but critics were quick to note this programmatic aspect of the work. As with many composers, Bernstein recycled musical materials when they suited his needs. Ḥalil, for example, uses rejected material from his Dybbuk and from music written for the fiftieth anniversary of the CBS network. But it is all organic, and as Bernstein notes, the work is “like much of my music in its struggle between tonal and non-tonal forces. In this case, I sense that struggle as involving wars and the threat of wars, the overwhelming desire to live, and the consolation of art, love and the hope for peace. It is a kind of night-music, which, from its opening 12-tone row to its ambiguously diatonic final cadence, is an on-going conflict of nocturnal images: wish-dreams, nightmares, repose, sleeplessness, night-terrors and sleep itself, Death’s twin brother. I never knew Yadin Tannenbaum, but I know his spirit.”
Performers: Bonita Boyd, Flute; Kenneth McGraith, Percussion; John McVeigh, Percussion; Barry Snyder, Piano
Publisher: Universal Polygram International Publishing
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