Yesterday I attended a very moving St. Paul Chamber Orchestra performance of Neharot, Neharot by Israeli composer Betty Olivero for viola, accordion, percussion and two string ensembles. The viola soloist was Kim Kashkashian, who has recorded the composition. This haunting piece uses the elegies of women who had lost loved ones in the Israeli conflict with militias of the Lebanese Hezbollah in 2006 as it's touchstone. The program notes explain,
The title of the composition Neharo't Neharo't, means “Rivers, Rivers” in Hebrew and refers to the rivers and floods of tears which are too often shed by mourning women in disastrous situations. On the other hand, the title contains also an element of hope: the root of the Hebrew word “nahar” (river) resembles the word “nehara,” meaning “ray of light.”I found the music very appropriate to marking this Holy Week and the season of reflection we experience each April with Remembrance Days for both the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. How fitting too, that we are reading Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife this month at the same time the people of Sarajevo are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the siege their city. Take a few minutes to soak this in. Listen to Part 1 above. Here is Part 2.