At the end of an article about the Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse, the Guardian recently published a short list of ‘Four more artists the world has heard of – but the UK hasn’t’. Among them I was surprised to see the great Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin. So, in the interests of helping my homeland out a bit, here are a few pointers. I’ve complained before that the Barbican’s Total Immersion series has lost its sense of adventure and purpose; a TI day devoted to Czernowin would be high on my fantasy list, and would really set things back on course. (Declaration: Czernowin’s website includes a line by me on its front page, taken from this review.)
Here is Sahaf (2008), from that Shifting Gravity CD, performed by Ensemble Nikel and synched with the score:
Here is Ensemble Nikel and the Berner Symphonieorchester performing Zohar Iver (2011):
If you really want to get your teeth into something big though, this is what you need – this is MAIM, Czernowin’s major orchestral work (plus five soloists and electronics) of 2001–6. Pair it with last year’s sort-of guitar concerto White wind waiting and you’ve got a perfect ending to a Total Immersion day, I reckon. Recording available on Mode records (along with several other Czernowin discs).
Failing that, there are two operas – Adama and Pnima … ins Innere – that both deserve staging here. (The latter is also available through Mode.)
Daniel Vezza recently posted a long interview (in two parts) with Czernowin to his Composer Conversations podcast.
Here is another interview, for NewMusicBox:
Finally, you should also read this short article by the composer, The Other Tiger, a brilliant, concise encapsulation of biography and artistic credo, originally published in Search, now hosted on the website of Ensemble Nikel.