COMPOSER 1945–2013

Opus 49

And He Sent Forth a Dove (1971)

for Piano

Jeffrey Grossman, piano

Duration: 3 min.

Dedication: to Arthur Kuflik

Recording: Albany TROY1119

Premiere: 1975; A. Rigai; Brooklyn Museum

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Around New Year’s my good friend, the philosopher Arthur Kuflik introduced me to some fairly modern Israeli songs, both religious and secular. Although the idiom was hardly obscure, it had somehow gone “below my radar” for whatever passing reasons of my own. These tunes were elegant and fairly simple and used both Western instruments and scales but were nevertheless unmistakable in their ethnic character. After some study I decided that these were often in Dorian mode with Phrygian endings, so a piece basically in D minor would have B naturals in the middle of phrases and E-flats at the endings. Indeed, however, the piece I wrote does not get that dark—the Phrygian E-flats would provide a considerable “tug”. Closer to Dorian with minor endings (B-flat) and a quasi-Russian emphasis on G, the fourth note of the scale. As for the title, of course, it derives from the Noah legend, where a dove is set forth to see if it can find land. The bittersweet story may produce mixed feelings, which the Jewish culture cannot resist; it is good news if it does NOT come back, as that means it has indeed found dry land and the deluge has subsided. (Notes by Arnold Rosner)