October 20th, 2017 – Dr. Alan Goldspiel performed the World Premiere of his composition for guitar entitled Yom HaShoah at a NACUSA (National Association of Composers/USA-Mid-South) event that took place at the University of Montevallo’s LeBaron Recital Hall.
Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, memorializes those who died in the Shoah, which means catastrophe or utter destruction in Hebrew and refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II. Here, the guitar scordatura, rhythmic figures, and melodic motives express the emotions experienced in such memories – because it still feels necessary to remember and remind.
Yom HaShoah consists of three movements and each holds a specific significance.
- Yellow Candle elicits the Jewish tradition of lighting a 24-hour candle during periods of mourning. Burning a specially designed Yellow Candle mourns the Six Million who perished and keeps their memory alive. Importantly, the music is strongly influenced by the Yiddish song Es Brent (It Burns) by Mordechai Gebirtig.
- Hear My Prayer musically petitions us to honor and remember all the souls who died in the Holocaust. Woven into this movement is the prayer Sh’ma Yisrael in one of its most familiar musical representations. The major/minor mode-shifts juxtapose hope (never again) and sadness in a most fundamental way.
- The March of the Living brings students from around the world to Poland, where they explore the remnants of the Holocaust in a silent march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp complex built during World War II. Set in 7/8, the music’s asymmetry reflects on walking in those steps learning of such things.
This World Premiere marks the first time Yom HaShoah has been performed in its entirety. When asked about the inspiration for writing this piece, Goldspiel stated “While I had thought that I might never musically reflect on the atrocities of hate, recent events convinced me otherwise. I humbly offer this music as one voice of remembrance for the many not allowed to have any voice.”
Later in the program, Goldspiel performed three movements from his composition titled Nature Sketches. The movements performed were Twilight, Dark Clouds, and Windstorm.
Goldspiel is a member and President of the National Association of Composers-USA/Mid-South chapter and is very active with that organization.