Kol kara 03:03
Ashrei ha-gafrur 02:05

Liner Notes

Max Helfman’s two Hebrew songs here are settings of poetry by the tragic Hungarian Jewish heroine and Zionist, Hanna Szenesh (1921–1944). When she was twenty-three, during the last year of the Second World War, from her safe haven in Palestine she volunteered to be parachuted behind enemy lines in Hungary to assist in the war effort. She was captured by the Fascists and tortured to death. In Kol kara (A Voice Called), she speaks of a voice calling her that she cannot resist or ignore, until she realizes—too late—her loss. Ashrei haggafrur (Blessed Is the Match) illuminates the intensity of burning commitment in a heart “with wisdom to stop its beating for honor’s sake….”



Poet: Hannah Szenesh (1921-1944)

Sung in Hebrew

I. KOL KARA (A Voice Called)

A Voice called, and I went.
I went because the voice kept on calling.
I went, intent not to fall.
But at the crossroads
I put my ear against the cold whiteness of the snow,
And I wept.
For I had lost something.

II. ASHREI HAGGAFRUR (Blessed is The Match)

Blessed is the match that is consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with wisdom to stop its beating for honor's sake ...
Blessed is the match that is consumed in kindling flame.



Poet: Hannah Szenesh (1921-1944)

I. KOL KARA (A Voice Called)

kol kara, v'halakhti,
halakhti, ki kara hakkol.
halakhti I'val eppol.

akh al parashat d'rakhim
satamti oznai balloven hakkar.
ki ibbad'ti davar.

II. ASHREI HAGGAFRUR (Blessed is The Match)

ashrei haggafrur shennisraf v'hitzit lehavot,
ashrei hallehava shebba'ara b'sit'rei I'vavot.
ashrei hall'vavot sheyad'u laḥdol b'chavod ...
ashrei haggafrur shennisraf v'hitzit lehavot.





Composer: Max Helfman

Length: 05:08
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Ruth Halvani, Mezzo-soprano;  Will Hancox, Piano

Date Recorded: 02/01/1999
Venue: The Warehouse (F), London, UK
Engineer: Hughes, Campbell
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Levin, Neil

Additional Credits:

Translation: Eliyahu Mishulovin


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