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On June 24, the Sydney Chamber Choir and soloist Julian Smiles premiered Michael's new work for Choir and Solo Cello, Kaddish Avelim.
“Effective and strikingly moving”
Artshub review of Kaddish Avelim, June 2012
"Michael Yezerski's new piece, Kaddish Avelim, commissioned by the choir, explored the rhythmically free melodic style of the Kaddish prayer in the Jewish tradition. The calling part usually taken by the rabbi went to a solo cello (Julian Smiles) and the congregational response went to the choir. It celebrated the declamatory and communal aspects of chant and ritual, starting with role separation of the cello and choral parts, moving gradually to broad collective unity."
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, June 26, 2012
Sydney Chamber Choir, Julian Smiles (cello), Thomas Wilson (cond.)
Live recording, Great Hall, Sydney University, Jayson McBride (eng. / prod.)
Sounds Of Sydney wrote:
"In the past, Stanhope has programmed viols and voices, saxophones and singers. In their June concert, Lux Aeterna, the Sydney Chamber Choir is joined by cellist Julian Smiles to premiere a work commissioned by the choir and composed by Michael Yezerski, Kaddish Avelim for cello and choir.
Like the Catholic Requiem, The Kaddish is central to the Jewish ritual of mourning. In Lux Aeterna, Kaddish Avelim presents the Jewish tradition alongside Duruflé’s Requiem, selections from Peter Sculthorpe’s Requiem for cello alone and works by Messiaen, Ligeti."
Michael Yezerski in fact studied composition with Peter Sculthorpe at the University of Sydney, graduating with first-class honours. He went on to study audio technology at The Australian Institute of Music and completed film music studies at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. He has since written the scores for the films The Black Balloon and The Waiting City, the concert piece The Red Tree and the Academy Award-winning short film, The Lost Thing. Yezerski ‘s music has earned him five APRA-AGSC Australian Screen Music Awards from ten nominations and a swag of other affirmations.
Of Kaddish Avelim, he says “I wanted to try to capture the essence of my remembered childhood experience. The cello assumes a rabbinical role, calling the congregation (the choir) to attention and devotion. There is interplay between our Rabbi and Congregation – we hear interjections from both sides as the weight of the text takes hold. Gradually the two move more and more towards a sanctified union.”....
You can read the full article from Sounds of Sydney here.