Ahasver (The Wandering Jew), Symphonic Poem, Op. 23 (1931)

Recording: Not available

Orchestration: 2,2,3,2-4,3,3,1-tmp+3-hp-str

Duration: 20:00 minutes

Publisher: The Marc Lavry Heritage Society


Ahasver score

Lavry crossed out the title “Symphony No. 1, Third Movement” and instead wrote Ahasver, The Wandering Jew

Lavry composed the symphonic poem Ahasver, The Wandering Jew, while he was the conductor of the Berlin City Symphony Orchestra. At that time Lavry began to address Jewish topics in his composition.

In 1931 Lavry attempted to write his first symphony, Symphony No. 1, Op. 21. Even though he was already an accomplished composer, by the time he completed his work he felt it wasn’t compelling enough as his first symphony. He therefore turned it into two shorter compositions:
The second movement, Andante, became a new composition (with the same opus number) — Andante for Orchestra (Symphonic Movement), also titled Tefilah, Hebrew for Prayer.
The third movement, Allegro Maestoso, was turned into a symphonic poem, Ahasver, The Wandering Jew, Op. 23.

Ahasver was performed in Berlin and Riga.

It is interesting to note that during his last years in Germany, 1929-1932, Lavry wrote several compositions influenced by his Jewish heritage:

Anecdote: Lavry’s gala performance of Ahasver in Riga, on May 15, 1934, he conducted the Riga Radio Symphony in the grand Riga Concert Hall. However, his second performance, in March of 1935, was at a Jewish theater because by then the Fascists rose to power and banned him, as they did all other Jews, from performing in any official venue. Three months later Lavry and his wife left Riga and on July 4 arrived in Israel.

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