top of page

Udi Perlman, Composition Portfolio for Doctorate Application

Selected Excerpts (full recordings and scores bellow)
 score excerpts:

1. Yama – 7 Movements for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano and bitKlavier (2019) 

Commissioned by Gesellschaft für Neue Musik Mannheim
Premiered by the International Ensemble Modern Academy
Florian-Waldeck-Saal, REM Museum, Manheim, Germany

September 13th 2019 

2. Say now Shibboleth – For Ensemble (2018)

Commissioned by the Israel Music Institute for the Israeli Music Festival 2018
Premiered by The Israel Contemporary Players, Zsolt Nagy - Conductor
Tel-Aviv Museum of Art

September 17th 2018

3. Alila – For String Quartet (2017)

Premiered by West-Eastern Divan Orchestra members:
Michael Barenboim, Samir Obaido, Katrin Spiegel, Astrig Siranossian 

Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milano, Italy

April 11th 2018

4. Concerning Spring - For Symphony Orchestra, Choir and Soprano Solo (2016)

Text: Frühlingsbotschaft / Heinrich Heine

Commissioned by 'Wrocław - European Capital of Culture 2016'
Premiered by a specially created orchestra from Poland, Germany,

Israel and the Czech Republic, Alan Urbanek - Conductor
Wrocław, Poland

June 11th 2016

Full Pieces and Scores

1. Yama – For Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano and bitKlavier (2019)

Full Score:

About the Piece:

The Hebrew word Yama (יָמָה) means "west" or "westwards". The literal origin of the word however is the expression "to the sea". A clear directionality towards an endless space. The following seven movements seek to capture this elusive duality; with crippled trajectories and broken cycles, the notion of harmonic directionality is re-imagined and explored from various perspectives.

2. Say now Shibboleth – For Ensemble (2018)

Selected Excerpts (full recordings and scores bellow)

Full Score:

About the Piece:

I received the commission to write a piece for the 2018 Israeli Music Festival after a period of almost two years in which I've been living outside of Israel as part of my studies, and consequently thinking quite a lot about what the term "Israeli music" actually means.

In its original context, the phrase "Say now: Shibboleth" served as a form of border control, used by the Gileads to protect their territory by identifying and killing the enemy ("Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him" Judges 12, 6). In a modern context the term Shibboleth signifies the words and expressions unique to a particular group of people.

Of all the words starting with "Sh", the word the Gileads picked (Shibboleth is Hebrew for an ear of grain) is to me an emblem of what later became known as the "Mediterranean school" in music. Shibboleth, almost inseparable in my mind from Shibboleth Basade, one of the most well-known Israeli "folk" songs, symbolizes many Israeli composers' attempts to define their musical territory, so to speak, by incorporating "local" sounds into their works, trying to connect to a certain sense of rootedness.

One might be critical today about the approach of the "Mediterranean school", for its orientalism and the ideology it represents. Nevertheless, I find myself, especially in the last two years, often returning to it and "negotiating" with it through my music, only to discover that the basic questions underlying it are still very much relevant and open. A critical part of my writing process consists of putting myself though a kind of "Shibboleth test", a sort of private test of belonging. This is my attempt to examine and distill the materials, ideas and traditions which I wish to include in my work and define as my own.

3. Alila – For String Quartet (2017)

Full Score:

About the Piece:

The Hebrew word Alila (עלילה) means plot, a story in its barest form. I've always been fascinated by the story-like, narrative aspect of music, and by how separate musical ideas can be joined together to form a unified meaning. The word Alila therefore represents for me a sort of aesthetic ideal, and in my latest works I've been exploring the question of how to create the feeling of direction and progression from one musical moment to another, in the same way a kind of common thread, Ürlinie if you will, connects discrete dramatic events into a narrative.

In this piece my means of achieving this goal is a harmonic progression inspired by a short prophetic passage from Schoenberg's Harmonielehre that I am particularly fond of: 

"What today is remote can tomorrow be close at hand; it is all a matter of whether one can get closer. And the evolution of music has followed this course: it has drawn into the stock of artistic resources more and more of the harmonic possibilities inherent in the tone."

Derived from the natural overtone series, the harmonic progression gradually moves from lower to higher partials, thus, as in Schoenberg's quote, gradually drawing in more and more 'remote' sonorities which become increasingly chromatic and microtonal.

This progression however is merely the pieces skeleton, its 'plot'. The same way a storyteller may tell the same plot in many different ways by using rhetoric devises in an intuitive way, I also tried to keep a playful spontaneity to my storytelling and let the characters lead me in their own direction.

4. Concerning Spring - For Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Soprano Solo  (2016)

Full Score:

About the Piece:

Concerning Spring for chorus and symphony orchestra was commissioned by 'Wrocław - European Capital of Culture 2016' and premiered on the banks of the Odra river in Wrocław, Poland to an audience of 50,000 people. Part of the 'Wroclaw Cantata', an evening-length multimedia performance consisting of works by four different composers, the piece was asked to relate to the city of Wrocław, and specifically to the historical period of the Weimar Republic between the two world wars, when the city was still German, and known as Breslau.

Rather than attempting to express this complex historical period in a direct, programmatic manner, I chose to approach it in a more abstract way, by focusing on what I perceived, after reading and learning about the city's historical period, to be its most prominent and striking characteristic – instability and constant rapid development and change. An additional inspiration for the piece was Bertolt Brecht's poem Concerning Spring (Über das Frühjahr) from his poem collection The Impact of the Cities (1925-1928), which describes a collective memory of a lost spring. As a representation of this idea, I used the poem Leise zieht durch mein Gemüt by Heinrich Heine, as the main text sung by the choir and the Soprano solo.

With these themes in mind, I chose to use the interval of a perfect fifth and as a primary compositional resource, a kind of embryonic idea for the entire piece. The interval's particular characteristics enabled me on the one hand to represent the idea of excessive progress leading to a feeling of swirl, by creating a saturation of forward moving harmonic progressions, while on the other hand to allude to the Brechtian idea of a "lost spring", by using the intervals more traditional connotative attributes, but still in a non-nonfunctional way.

bottom of page