Yesterday I went to a rehearsal of my piece ‘A Prayer and a Dance’ which is being performed tonight in the Meistersingerhalle, Nürnberg, by the Nürnberger Symphoniker. The rehearsal was in an amazing building: the Reichsparteitagsgelände.
One could see the building from kilometres away, a huge complex which apparently is one million square metres big. It turns out that this building was designed by Albert Speer, and is one of the last monumental remains of the National Socialist regime. It was hard to escape the shadow that this building casts. Once inside, it turns out that this section of the building had been renovated into a modern concert hall, where the orchestra was rehearsing.
While listening to my piece being rehearsed, I was overwhelmed by the fact that here I was, a living Jewish composer, having a piece performed by a German orchestra in a building such as this. The piece ‘A Prayer and a Dance’ was originally written for a doctor who was retiring from his practice. He loved playing the violin, together with his four sons, two of them also played the violin, one viola and the other cello. The doctor had been stricken by a muscle dystrophy. I wanted to celebrate his life instead of emphasizing the tragedy and decided to end the piece with a dance.