Concert Program

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This story by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper

on June 17, 1998. All rights reserved.

Victorious Music, But No Rejoicing

Every conflict has two points of view: the victors’

and the vanquished. When composer Moshe Budmor tells the Exodus story

of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea, he wants everyone

to experience the emotions of the Egyptians as well as those of the

Israelites. Budmor will conduct the audience in chorus parts for each

group in

his cantata, "The Crossing," part of a 75th birthday concert

on Sunday, June 21, at 3 p.m. at Bristol Chapel of Westminster Choir


Throughout his career Moshe Budmor has tried to involve


in the performance of music. With degrees in violin, choral


orchestral conducting, and composition from the Academy of Music in

Jerusalem, Juilliard, and Columbia, he was professor of music at the

College of New Jersey for 24 years. He now directs Lashir, the Jewish

Center’s community choir. He and his late wife Katya Delakova gained

international recognition for intensive multimedia workshops that

train amateurs to create remarkable, emotionally-layered theater


In "The Crossing" Budmor translates the Exodus passage into

what baritone Robert Freedman calls "a very modern, very powerful

musical idiom." Freedman, trained as an opera singer and a cantor,

is now the rabbi for the String of Pearls congregation, and he


that the listener will "see the story through Moshe’s musical


This may seem to be a mixed metaphor, but as Freedman notes,


what Moshe is about — releasing the inner being and putting it

out in whatever form the expression demands — whether instrumental

or vocal or even audience participation."

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Concert Program

There will be a wide variety of forms and styles at this concert.

It opens with "A love song to my dear wife Lea," played by

his wife Lea Lerner, a pianist and Dalcroze teacher (see story page

32). Three Hebrew motets will be sung by Dawn Kyser, Linda Mindlin,

Jack Zamboni, and Brian Phipps. "Kabbalat Shabbat," a melodic

string quartet in which each movement is based on a traditional


song, will be performed by Sanford Allen, Dale Stuckenbruck, Leo


and Robert Martin. Freedman has a role in a Persian folk tale, along

with harpsichord player Rita Ash, recorder artist John Burkhalter,

and violinist John Banks. Eugene Roan is the organist and Phipps sings

the bass roles of Moses and the Divine Voice for the cantata.

"The Crossing" was commissioned by the Evangelical Church

of Germany for a convention in Hamburg in 1981; Budmor successfully

conducted that audience in the chorus roles. A gentle, witty, and

sprightly man, he has both a deep spirituality and great quantities

of energy; he will need to summon those plus all his powers of musical

persuasion to elicit the singing participation of the Bristol Chapel


Ever the humanitarian and peacemaker, Budmor does not end his cantata

with the triumphant shout of the Hebrews: "I will sing unto the

Lord for He has triumphed gloriously, the horse and his rider he has

thrown into the sea."

That did not feel right to him. "The Egyptians were also creatures

of God," he says. "Although they had to be destroyed for


it is still not cause to rejoice." And so, after the Israelites’

celebration, an angel of God appears to recite a "midrash,"

an old Rabbinic commentary that is poignant in its terseness: "My

creatures are being devoured by the sea, and you sing songs to


— Barbara Figge Fox

Moshe Budmor Birthday Concert, Westminster Choir

College ,

Bristol Chapel, 609-921-2663. Free; donations accepted for the Cancer

Research Fund of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation.


June 21, 3 p.m.

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