Notes & Reviews:
The oratorio Joram was one of the last works composed by Paul Ben- Haim, then Paul Frankenburger, in his native city of Munich. He completed the work in 1933, only a few weeks before he emigrated to Palestine to escape the Nazis. In April 2012, nearly eighty years after its composition, it received its Israeli premiere at Tel Aviv University's Smolarz Auditorium. Its turbulent yet ultimately optimistic libretto is taken from Rudolf Borchardt's poetic work Das Buch Joram (1907) which describes a suffering, Job-like character using semibiblical imagery. Its musical language displays influences of German late Romanticism and Expressionism. This world première recording from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Hayko Siemens honors one of the founders and greatest composers of Israeli music.
Joram is clearly of historic import; the dramatic and progressive quality of the music adds to its intrinsic significance.... a rich piece to the still incomplete jigsaw of twentieth and 21st-century music.
American Record Guide, September/October 2013
Joram is the handiwork of Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984), one of the founding fathers of classical music in the modern state of Israel. The composer crafted this oratorio in 1931 when he was still Paul Frankenburger, the well-respected kapellmeister of the Augsburg Opera House in his native Germany. Stylistically, Ben-Haim's writing splays off in a number of different directions. They're all brought off well by the performers. Most of the action runs through the Evangelist, Carsten Suss, and his voice strikes a balance between power and elegance. Baritone Bernd Valentin does a lovely job with Joram's lyrical aria at the end of Part I. The orchestra sounds fully engaged in the drama. I admire the choir. In general, the sound is OK - boxy and close. Notes, texts, and full translations are supplied. All in all, this was quite a coming home party: for Joram after his time in slavery, and for Joram after 80 years of being silenced by the forces of history.
Recording information: Smolarz Auditorium, Tel Aviv University (04/03/2012).
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Works DetailsPaul Ben-Haim : Joram, oratorio
- Conductor: Hayko Siemens
- Ensemble: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
- Running Time: 3 min. 34 sec.
- Period Time: Modern
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio