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LO IRA RA, 2014, (I Will Fear No Evil) for mixed chorus, accordion, clarinet, harp and piano

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Commissioned by The American Guild of Organists for The national conference of the American Guild of Organists 2014, U.S.A
Publisher: Israel Music Institute, 2014, IMI 8083 | Duration: 9 min.

The title, Lo Ira Ra is taken from Psalm 23 and is translated ”I Will Fear No Evil.” Each voice in this composition speaks in dialogue with the others in the style of Middle Eastern heterophony.
In Lo Ira Ra the chorus is in a dialogue with itself: soloists from the choir sing the rhythmically free Oriental melodies, while the ”tutti” choir sings in western style, harmonically and rhythmically, like in classical choral singing. The chorus sometimes takes the part of a string orchestra and the soloists sing above.
The accordion plays with the chorus and soloists, and carries the influence of the pipe organ but with a folk character. The harp is like the wind and water.  The piano dialogues with soloists and the accordion but also plays an ambient harmony at times like an orchestra of church bells. The clarinet plays a Jewish prayer in dialogue with the ”church bells” of the piano and the Oriental melodies of the soloists. The psalm texts are in Hebrew and English, but at the end the words are those common to both languages.

Olivero’s music  has a horizontal quality taken from the heterophony of Arabic music plus the vertical organization of a steady beat. She is fervent in describing the polyphony of many cultures living one on top of another as happens in Israel.  She says that she writes music based on what she hears, what is around her, what is her reality. Each culture has its own music, which she researches and transcribes to communicate the fertile world that exists outside the domain of politics. For her, these cultures exist together and transform each other making something new and dramatic.

Notes by Louise Mundinger

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Betty Olivero: Cantata singers, about the premier of "Lo Ira Ra" >>

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