As my faithful readers know, Music is my Great Passion. Music – and Cats.
Let me start again.
As my faithful readers know, Music and Cats are my twin passions. And Literature.
I beg your pardon. I’ll just start over from the beginning.
As my faithful readers know, my three great passions are Music, Cats and Literature. Oh – and Gardens.
All right. Let’s try again.
As my faithful readers know, my four great passions are: Music, Cats, Literature, and Gardens.
And exploring hidden and hitherto unknown beauty spots of Jerusalem.
Oh, hell! Okay. One more time…
Among my great passions are Music, Cats, Literature, Gardens and exploring hidden and hitherto unknown beauty spots of Jerusalem.
Having properly introduced the subject, I can now tell you that over the last couple of weeks, I have been able to indulge many of these passions.
Last Thursday, for example, my choir, the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir, under the baton of Kate Belshé, gave a concert in the Community Garden of the Jerusalem Natural History Museum in the German Colony, one of my favourite Jerusalem neighbourhoods. The concert was part of a fundraising effort to help finance the restoration of the garden’s historical ornamental pool. Since the Community Garden, though familiar to Jerusalemites living in the neighbourhood, is not exactly on the regular tourist track, (although the museum itself is a popular destination for local school trips), this concert was an opportunity to indulge most of my aforementioned passions 🙂
First of all, as I said, there is the garden itself – an almost secret garden, whose existence is not widely known:
Then there was the music. Raul, from the bass section, filmed the whole concert in video, so I can share some of it with you. Please bear in mind that, beside the noise made by the many children in the audience, the acoustics of an outdoor concert – unless you have the advantage of an acoustic shell, such as in London’s Kenwood Gardens – are unlikely to be the best.
Come now, and join me, in the garden.
Here is “Tsipor Shniya” (ציפור שניה – “Second Bird”), with lyrics by the Bialik Prize and Israel Prize-winning poet Nathan Zach, set to music by Misha Segal:
I saw a bird of great beauty.
The bird saw me.
A bird of such great beauty
I shall see no more
Till the day I die.
A quiver of sunlight passed me then.
I spoke words of greeting.
The words I spoke yesterday evening
I shall not speak again today.
And now we switch to Latin, for a setting of Psalm 150 by the Brazilian composer Ernani Aguiar:
I mentioned in one of my previous posts that, since Kate took over as our conductor, we have been singing quite a lot of American choral music. Here we are, performing Randall Thompson’s “Glory to God in the Highest”:
What better way to end than with a traditional Israeli Hora from the 1930s – “Sovevuni” (סובבוני – “Spin me round”) by Ya’akov Orland (lyrics) and Mordechai Zeira (music), arranged for choir by Yehuda Engel?
Spin me round….Dance for me, one single song ….This is the song, this and no other, There is no other song, ever….It will not change….By night, quietly, the dance flares up again. All our lives are a burning torch….in our glowing night….
Well, there you have it. One concert, which catered to all five of my passions: music, fine literature, gardens, and hidden beauty spots. You will just have to believe me – as I have no photo to prove it – when I tell you that there were several cats roaming around the garden, some of them sitting listening to our concert 😉
One the way home from the concert, I passed by the Shalom Hartman Institute which is, itself, surrounded by a beautiful garden:
Although I saw no cats there, we did meet up with a quartet of very handsome dogs:
Yet another garden of whose existence I have known for years, but had never before visited, until a couple of weeks ago, is Ganei Rechavia, on the corner of Shmuel Hanagid and Narkiss Streets, a hidden oasis in the heart of town, just two minutes walk from the busy King George – Ben Yehuda intersection. This is actually a private garden, I believe, for the use of the residents of the surrounding apartment buildings, but although it has a gate, it is not locked.
Here I found, not only cats and kittens aplenty, but also, unsurprisingly, beautiful, delicate butterflies:
Finally, this post would not be complete without a mention of this year’s Festival of Light in Jerusalem, held, as usual, in and around the Old City.
Here, besides the various constructions, such as the colourful jellyfish which greet the visitor on entering the Jaffa Gate
or the circle of angels on the plaza at Zahal Square, whose invitation to join them and become part of the display, it would prove hard to resist,
one might find, among the many contributions by artists from Israel, France, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Singapore, Austria and (surprisingly) Turkey, a display constructed of hundreds of lampshades, painted by children from all quarters of the Old City. Closely observed, one can see that these are ordinary lampshades of the kind that was very common in the middle years of the twentieth century:
When one steps back, however, and looks at the whole, the effect is of dozens of Chinese lanterns, filling what has so often been a battleground, with the light of hope.
Nor was there any lack of music.
Music was everywhere, even on the steps leading to the Kotel (the Western Wall):
The Kotel is a garden. Between its stones grow moss and hyssop – but also flowers:
And when, on the way back, the desire to escape the crowds led me away from the marked route, down darker streets and past hidden courtyards,
And what could be more fitting, here, in the City of David, than to find a harpist
and, moreover, one who declares (see the handwritten notice beside her):
I PLAY TO MAKE YOU SMILE AND BRING PEACE TO YOUR HEART?
Shabbat Shalom to you all.