Meditation on Kol Nidrei
composed by Ljova
commissioned and performed by the Cassatt String Quartet
Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins
Ah Ling Neu, viola
Elizabeth Anderson, cello
recorded by Peter Weitzner
filmed by Randy Crafton
Doubt, confusion, an inner repentance – these were the themes I tried to work with in creating my “Meditation” on this most solemn prayer, recited on the Jewish day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. In my composition, the traditionally familiar motifs are fragmented, inverted, and fused together in a way that is connected by question marks. Will we be forgiven? What did we do wrong?
Traditionally, the “Kol Nidrei” is a prayer recited three times — and similarly, in my piece, there are several elements that develop over three repetitions or three phrases — for example, the opening melody in the cello unfolds over three statements. The premiere performance of “Meditation on Kol Nidrei” took place at an Erev Yom Kippur service in Odessa, Texas, featuring the Cassatt Quartet. I’m very grateful to them for the commission — and this incredible treasure of a recorded performance.
BONUS: Inna Barmash and Ljova perform an improvised “Kol Nidrei” from their living room, September 2020:
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