Walking Toward Caesaria

Marimba and string quartet, 2006

Duration: 10 minutes

Program note:
Walking Toward Caesaria is the title of a poem by Hannah Senesh, an Israeli who volunteered for a rescue mission during World War II and was captured and killed at the age of 23. Usually translated as follows, her words were famously set to music by David Zehavi:
    Oh Lord, my G-d
    I pray that these things never end
    The sand and the sea
    The rush of the waters
    The crash of the heavens
    The prayers of the heart

Commissioned by faculty members from The University of Florida in honor of the retirement of Dr. David Kushner, long time head of the musicology area, and dedicated to the memory of his son, Dr. Jeremy Kushner, an accomplished percussionist, the piece is in two parts: an energetic opening featuring passagework for the marimba in dialogue with the string quartet; and a slow section based upon Zehavi’s melody. As Dr. Kushner is one of the world’s foremost experts on the music of Ernest Bloch, a fragment from Bloch’s “Sacred Service” is quoted in this piece as well.
As Hannah Senesh also wrote:

    There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth
    though they have long been extinct.
    There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world
    though they are no longer among the living.
    These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark.
    They light the way for mankind.


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