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Monday, January 28, 2013

18.12.2012 06:50
 
First time I met Mark, was in the Israeli Music Festival of year 2007. I was to conduct his cantus for violin and chamber orchestra. The concert was with the Kamerata orchestra and Alexander Pavlovsky as the soloist. The score talked. My most immediate impression of Mark's score was the feeling of having in front of me a very complex and highly creative work, complexity that encouraged my imagination. Something with his writing touched directly my creativity, and I remember having a lot of ideas and thoughts while studying it. Although I did understand a lot, I had a feeling of having a missing link. I was a bit anxious to meet Mark I must say. His image as the tough composing professor in the academy, together with this brilliant score were much more than needed in order to make me shake. Our first meeting in the rehearsals was already interesting. He gave me some of his corrections and started to tell me the story of his opera and its non-performance in Russia. This was the missing link. The heterophony together with some other composition techniques were not only the synagogue effect or the layers and vertical thinking, it was a musical way of equalizing. It does not create only an un-harmonic world in which no one is more important than the other, it creates a musical equality. His technique, orchestration, proportions and form are all deeply influenced by his personal Russian-Israeli-communism-freedom debate. A debate that in a way is the heart of the Israeli society with its Post-Zionistic crisis. After the concert he came to me, hugged me and said he is looking forward to our next performance together. Needless to say, I was very happy.

There is something in Mark's music that is for sure particular. I am referring to a very special ability his scores has. There are very few composers, even from the most important ones, who have written music that can educate an orchestra. As a conductor, it is a great experience to watch an orchestra grow while working on a certain piece. Verdi requiem, Dvorzak strings Serenade, Beethoven symphonies, Eliot Carter's symphony in three movements and some others are all pieces that change the way an orchestra thinks and plays. It must have something with the composer's methodic talent but also shows he understood something about the deepest mechanism of the orchestra and the musician's way of thinking. Working on Mark’s pieces, gave the musicians and me the impression of dealing with something that educate us, a musical experience that will make a difference.

The effect of his music on me remained the same also when I conducted "lekol Hazichronot". The score is one of my favorite scores. It is a very complex work full of controversial ideas: the heterophony-advanced harmonies, layers-melodies, immigrant from Russia-immigrant from Yemen, new Israeli? Mark's score took me directly to the core of someone leaving his land, his home in order to be part of something else, hopefully bigger. His personal story was maybe more easily expressed through the eyes of another immigrant. Like Alterman or Shlonsky he manages to be the immigrant and the Israeli at the same time, to create and criticize at the same moment, to scream and listen.

I am about to conduct this piece again in few months on my concerts with the Israeli Philharmonic. I chose to do this piece long time ago since I wanted to do it again, obviously this upcoming performances has now gained a different significance.

Omer Meir Wellber