Rabin Memorialized in Musical Tribute
The work by Israeli composer Dov Seltzer was a memorial to Yitzhak Rabin and reflected the composer's thoughts and feelings following the 1995 assassination.
The hour-long concert was conducted by assistant professor of music and director of Haverford's choral activities Thomas Lloyd, who was attracted to Seltzer's work after attending the dress rehearsal for the U.S. premiere of Lament at the Lincoln Center. Following the rehearsal, he met the composer and asked for permission to perform the composition at Haverford.
"Seltzer's work is an intensely personal statement," says Lloyd. "Each of the composition's five movements are meant to elicit different emotions, and their titles are a blend of terms and prayers from the Jewish burial service and the traditional Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.
In the opening movement entitled, "El Maleh Rachamim (Kyrie and Requiem)," a tenor soloist expressed the disillusionment of Rabin's followers after the assassination and wondered if an individual life has any value at all. Subsequent segments of the piece evoked a wide range of emotions, from the joy of celebrating Rabin's ideals and values to the concern for respecting life and finding peaceful ways to resolve conflicts.
"Overall it creates a palpable sense of the personal and collective loss of moral bearings in the face of violence," says Lloyd.
The performance included members of the local community as well as the college. The children's choirs from the Main Line Reform Temple of Wynnewood and Temple Sholom in Broomall assisted the chorale while musicians from the Curtis Institute and Temple University in Philadelphia played with the orchestra.
"The role of the children's choir in this work was important and very appealing," says Lloyd. "Including them also provided us an opportunity to reach out to the surrounding community in a very personal way."
Following the performance, Dalia Rabin-Pelossof, Yitzhak Rabin's daughter and current deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, addressed the audience and responded to Haverford students' questions about the current state of Israeli politics and Middle East diplomacy.
Rabin-Pelosoff also spoke about the music, saying that Lament accurately conveyed the emotions that she felt after the killing.
A native of Romania, Dov Seltzer immigrated to Israel at age 15. Although his music is not well known in this country, his operas and orchestral works have been performed by major ensembles throughout Europe and Israel.