Moses Pergament: The Jewish Song

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, James DePreist.

Caprice Records proudly presents the reissuing of something notably unique: the only recording that has ever been made of Moses Pergament’s The Jewish Song. The recording was made in 1974 in conjunction with a concert performance at the Stockholm Concert Hall, and is completely unique. Neither has the music been performed as a whole since this event.

Finland-Swedish composer Moses Pergament (1893-1977) is perhaps one of Swedish music history’s most well-kept secrets. In contrast to e.g. Lars-Erik Larsson and Wilhelm Stenhammar the name Moses Pergament is one largely forgotten today, but during his time he was regarded as one of the major figures in Swedish art music. For the public, he was most famous as a music critic and annalist, whose educational and descriptive style made him an important voice for the understanding and acceptance of the radical new musical trends. In a time when the Swedish art music business was still highly pervaded by the late Romantic ideals, Pergament harbored a keen interest in new music. This continued even in old age, for when the experimental electronic music made entrance in the 1960’s he claimed that while he could not grasp it musically, it was certainly in “absolute unison” with the rampant technological development of the time.

Pergament’s own sound world was based on growing up in an Orthodox Jewish home in Helsinki, and the historical, religious musical culture that he had access to. As he himself put it, it gave him the “intuitive basis for my music”. He studied the early ancient notation systems, and learned the history of Jewish musical culture.

The tremendous work The Jewish Song was composed during a three week period in 1944, at a time when the extent of the German Nazis’ crimes against humanity had just begun to be unveiled. The music, written for soprano, tenor, chorus and orchestra, takes us through history and switches between moods of deep bitterness, pride and confidence in the future. The lyrics are taken from two of the Swedish author and art historian Ragnar Josephson’s poetry collections, The Chain (1912) and Jewish Poems (1916), in which Pergament among other things found, quote, “The feelings of a true Jew. Not a despicable nationalism, but a liberating feeling of belonging, even in the midst of great suffering “.

Read more
Show playlist
    • 1.
      Prelude: In Memoriam Music: Moses Pergament
    • 2.
      The Jewish Song Music: Moses Pergament
    • 3.
      Ariel Music: Moses Pergament.
    • 4.
      Spring Night in Ajalon Music: Moses Pergament
    • 5.
      The Well in Heshbon Music: Moses Pergament
    • 6.
      Adagio Music: Moses Pergament
    • 7.
      In the Enemy Camp Music: Moses Pergament
    • 8.
      May the Whip of Penjury Music: Moses Pergament
    • 9.
      Prayer for a Gentle Heart Music: Moses Pergament
    • 10.
      Intermezzo drammatico Music: Moses Pergament
    • 11.
      The Reviled Word Music: Moses Pergament
    • 12.
      Prayer for the Approaching Sabbath Music: Moses Pergament
    • 13.
      We Thank You Lord Music: Moses Pergament
  • Total playtime 75'43
CD/digital // CAP 21834 // Classical // Releasedate: 27 August, 2014