Jerusalem De Sefarad

from by Ariel Lazarus



For a long time I was looking forward to compose a piece for my main instrument, the classical guitar, that will resonate my childhood musical memories, those I carry with me of my late grandfather Abraham Beniso, who was a great Spanish & Portuguese cantor in Gibraltar. I have been conducting a creative musical dialogue with him for the past two decades and this piece is a part of this process. As a composer and educator I feel an obligation to carry on his legacy through my personal musical language or at least being in an ongoing process of searching in my soul and blood for the right notes to express a somewhat complex identity. Many of my students are in that path of looking for who they are and what is important for them to express in the field of music and I think the best I can do for them is to set an example, same as my teachers did for me, and mainly for them this guitar suite was made.
The first version of this piece, I composed last spring and performed at the ULisboa Sephardi conference. All the themes are part of the Spanish and Portuguese repertoire: Adon Olam, Morenica, Achot Ketana, Yigdal, Bore ad Ana. I also give at the beginning and the end of the suite a little quote from the famous Neomy Shemer tune ‘Yerushalim shel Zahav’ which is also used by the Spanish and Portuguese cantors for different texts. ‘Jerusalem De Sefarad’ was a term to describe the unique Jewish civilization of medieval Spain and today ‘Sefard’ resonates for me in old Jerusalem where Sefardi piyutim and ladino singing is mixed with the church bells and the muazzin just like they used to in old Spain.
In setting this suite for the guitar I wanted to let the instrument ring at its best incorporating counterpoint and rich harmonies but also tried to keep a melodious and accessible approach making the piece attractive enough for the young student. Time will tell if I succeeded with this endevor


from Jerusalem De Sefarad, released December 28, 2016
Composition and Guitar: Ariel Lazarus


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Ariel Lazarus Rehovot, Israel

Dr. Ariel Lazarus,Composer, Guitarist and researcher. received his M.A in guitar and composition from OCU. continued his Ph.D. studies at Bar Ilan University. His compositions were premiered by varius Ensembles across Europe, USA and Israel. Lecturer at "Givat Washington"and "Rimon" Schools. researcher of Sephardi music and musical director of the Israeli Ladino Orchestra ... more

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