Dozens of broken instruments create a harmonious whole in ‘Shalem’
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Fractured whole

Dozens of broken instruments create a harmonious whole in ‘Shalem’

Audiences gather for a unique Mekudeshet event in Jerusalem as over 100 musicians and composers put on a musical celebration

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The 108 musicians who participated in 'Shalem,' the September 12, 2019 Mekudeshet festival concert of broken instruments (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
The 108 musicians who participated in 'Shalem,' the September 12, 2019 Mekudeshet festival concert of broken instruments (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

It was a concert of broken instruments at “Shalem,” Thursday night’s Mekudeshet Festival performance in Jerusalem’s Gan Mitchell, where a makeshift concert space was created for the evening under the Old City’s walls.

Some 108 musicians of all ages, from tweens and teens to more veteran performers, including people of all backgrounds — Jewish, Muslim and Christian — gathered on the temporary stage, a square set in the center of the audience, which sat around it on all four sides.

The concert was one of two performed on September 12, and the only two for the entirety of the nearly three-week-long Mekudeshet Festival, which specializes in drawing out what is unique and unusual about Jerusalem.

It was an energetic performance, bringing together contemporary and classical sounds, and focused on the many musicians sitting onstage, with solo moments for drummers and flutists, keyboard players and violinists.

For this “Shalem” performance, the 113 different instruments included some of the  musicians’ own instruments of choice, as well as the found and forgotten instruments from the city’s storerooms, or individuals’ collections of broken instruments.

The concept was to create a new harmony out of what is broken or fractured, according to the event’s organizers.

The music was performed by members of professional and amateur bands from throughout the city, east to west. It was composed by three musicians — Maya Dunietz, Nizar Elkhater and Dudu Tassa — and conducted by Tom Cohen of the Jerusalem Orchestra East West, with Emanuel Wizthum as the artistic director.

שלם – טעימה מהחזרות

في إشي عم بنطبخ ورا الكواليس…على منصة بزواية 360 ومن قلب القدس..يوم الخميس 12.09، حديقة ميتشلصوت القدس وآهاتها راح يوصل العالم كله ..تعالوا وكونوا جزء من هاد الإنجاز ..دوزنة – تناغم الآلات المكسورةلتفاصيل إضافية 9882*https://arb.mekudeshet.com/events//shalem/

פורסם על ידי ‏מקודשת Mekudeshet مقدسة‏ ב- יום שלישי, 10 בספטמבר 2019

“Shalem,” the Hebrew word for whole, brought together the disparate, broken and disconnected parts of the various instruments.

The sounds were unusual, not necessarily because of the broken instruments but due to the eclectic nature of the conductors, who brought their own notions and sounds to the temporary orchestra.

Dunietz brought forth animal sounds from the players, conjuring up a wild landscape of nature wild animals and creatures.

Toward the end, the music broke down into a chant which turned into the name of Tassa, who emerged onstage with his own instrument, accompanied by a DJ in addition to the orchestra, whose jagged twists of the turntable created broken rhythms and truncated, staccato sounds.

Through it all, Cohen danced and gestured on stage, conducting each section of the orchestra.

And at the very end, a young boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, took two cymbals and at Cohen’s nod, clanged them together. Two parts, one whole.

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