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David Kosviner: [zal] (1991/2)
Music for 16 voices in 4 groups

[zal] was commissioned by the Foundation for the Creative Arts (in South Africa) for the South African Broadcasting Corporation Chamber Choir and was composed during 1991 and 1992. The title is the Hebrew abbreviation of "zichrono l'varecha" which translates as "his memory be blessed" and it is said (or written) after mentioning the name of someone who has died. This composition is dedicated to Morton Feldman [zal], whose name also provides the text sung.

The name of the dedicatee is broken down into its constituent syllables, these are then put together in different orders or used associatively (e.g. "Morton" becomes "morto" which then becomes " morto.") The almost non-existence of a text means that the music does not have to follow a pre-determined dramaturgy that would have been laid down by a longer, narrative text.

The 16 singers are divided into 4 groups, each containing a soprano, a contralto, a tenor and a bass (cf. the diagram in the score.) These groups are then placed apart from one another to bring an additional antiphonal dimension to the composition.

The world premier of the piece took place in Karlruhe, Germany on 2 February 1996. The performers were the Kammerchor Stuttgart conducted by Frieder Bernius.

David Kosviner

[Morton Feldman Page] [Feldman: Homages]