Al Naharot Bavel (By the Rivers of Babylon) for Symphonic Orchestra, Op. 33.1 (1939)

Note: This version (Op 33.1) was composed in 1939 for Symphonic Orchestra. Al Naharot Bavel Op. 33 was written earlier in 1935 for Chamber Orchestra.

Marc Lavry (Conductor)
Kol Israel Symphony Orchestra (The Broadcasting Service Orchestra)

Orchestration: 1,1,1,1-4,0,0,0-timp+1-hp-str

Duration: 14:00 minutes

Publisher: The Marc Lavry Heritage Society

In a 1939 interview for the Davar newspaper, Lavry said about the composition: “Al Naharot Bavel” (By the Rivers of Babylon) the first composition I wrote in Israel in 1935, is a lament on devastated hopes, a song of repentance and regrets.”

There are two versions: For String Orchestra and for a small Symphonic Orchestra.
In 1933, Lavry felt that Germany was not safe for Jews. He immediately returned to his hometown, Riga. Within the year he decided that Riga too was unsafe for the Jews and he immigrated to Israel early 1935.

The main theme is based on a Sephardic melody Lavry became familiar with, whose text is from Psalms CXXXVII that describes the crying and the longing of the Diaspora Jews for Zion. The composer felt that he reached his homeland and was therefore compelled to share his emotions in an intimate yet crying lamentation.

The Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion
James Judd, Conductor
May 5, 2016 Rishon LeZion, Heichal Hatarbut at 8:30pm
May 7, 2016 Rishon LeZion, Heichal Hatarbut at 9:00pm
May 8, 2016 The Opera House – Performing Arts Center at 8:00pm
May 9, 2016 Rehovot, Beit Ha’am, Heichal Hatarbut at 8:30pm

The Haifa Symphony Orchestra – 1977
Kamila Kolchinskaya, Conductor

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