Invocation and Trance, from Dybbuk
Premiere recording of the piano-vocal version
Premiere (orchestral version): May 16, 1974
New York City
Conducted by the composer;
choreography by Jerome Robbins
For rehearsals of a ballet, a short score or piano reduction is required of the composer—sometimes, as in this case, reduced from full orchestra to two pianos, not necessarily intended for concert performance. This piece, however, is equally effective in both full orchestral dress and the simpler dual keyboard format. Based on the famous Yiddish play The Dybbuk, by S. Anski (Shloyme Zanvl Rappaport), Bernstein’s ballet version uses Hebrew texts selected by the composer. They are sung intermittently throughout the ballet by a tenor-baritone duo representing the voices of the two shtetl communities of Brinnits and Miropolye, in the Pale of Settlement (the area in which Jews were permitted to live) within the Czarist Empire at the turn of the 20th century. Texts used in the ballet are taken from the Bible—the oath of allegiance between David and Jonathan; Song of Songs; and the curse found in Deuteronomy (27:22); and from Kaddish, the established Jewish doxology extolling God’s greatness. The excerpt recorded here opens the ballet. The text is from the havdala (distinction) ritual that concludes the Sabbath—a bittersweet ceremony in its farewell to the peace and restfulness of the day. There is a musical reference in this opening scene to a late-19th-century Yiddish folksong, Di alte kashe (the perennial question about meaning, to which the only answer is “tra di ri di ram”).
Sung in Hebrew
From the havdala service (conclusion of the Sabbath)
Praised be You, O Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has made a distinction between holy and ordinary, between light and darkness, between the people Israel and the other nations, between the seventh day and the six working days. [Praised be You, O Lord, who distinguishesbetween holy and ordinary.] Amen
Performers: Jean Barr, Piano; Patrick Gnage, Baritone; Jason Smith, Bass Baritone; Barry Snyder, Piano
Publisher: Universal Polygram International Publishing
Translation: Rabbi Morton M. Leifman
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