(Hebrew, German) Yehuda Ben Halevi; Heinrich Heine; Psalm 122 (Hebrew Transliterated Bible)
My third symphony was written at the request of Maestro Frédéric Chaslin for the 75th anniversary of the Jerusalem Symphony. It was enabled by the generous support of my friends Jonathan and Faye Kellerman to whom I respectfully dedicate it.
When faced with the idea of composing a work for this occasion, I found it unlike the thought of any previous endeavor and felt an urgent need to address the city of Jerusalem. Rejecting initial ideas involving political or religious gestures I came to believe that what I wished to express was simply my awe and love for the city itself. It stands unique in its significance to the world.
I chose to use a classic symphonic form with vocal soloist as has served many great composers before me and started a search for texts. I picked three of them to use in the second and final movement of the piece.
To prepare the listener for these very distinct second and third movements I composed a rather energetic and massive first movement of purely orchestral color.
I contemplated the second movement as a journey towards the city and the third movement as an arrival.
Two texts are set for the second movement. The first is Yehuda Ben Halevi:
O that I might fly on eagles' wings.
That I might water thy dust with my tears
Until they mingle together
The second by Heinrich Heine:
I saw the heavy teardrops seeping
slowly from the mighty stone blocks
and I heard the lamentations
of the broken temple pillars
The Halevi is taken from his book about his journey to Jerusalem and the Heine is from his Hebrew Melodies
and actually refers to Halevi's journey.
In the last movement I choose lines from Psalm #122
Our feet are standing within thy gates Jerusalem
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Peace be within thy walls
For the sake of my brethren I will say now
Peace be within thee
— Marc Neikrug