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Concerto for Cello

"Like the Clay in the Potter's Hand" | "כי הנה כחומר ביד היוצר"

Composing Year:



Solo Cello and Chamber Orchestra [2/pic,2,2,2 - 2,0,0,0, timp, perc(3), hp, cel, pno & str]



Doron Toister - cello | Israel Symphony Orchestra Risohn-Lezion | Conductor: Noam Sheriff


The Cello Concerto was inspired by the prayers of the Day of Atonement: "Behold as the Clay in the Potter's Hand".

The relationship that develops between the potter and the clay is "a frame of reference" for the musical form chosen by the composer, whereby the potter is represented by the soloist and the clay by the orchestra. The musical substance of the concerto is derived, on the one hand, from a restricted number of "Te'amin" (the traditional biblical cantillations) and on the other hand from an aggregation of sounds built on an ascending row of intervals from the "minor second" to the "major sixth".

There is a long prologue that merges organically with the first movement which has a serene and passionate nature. The second movement starting with a Sarabande-like lyrical theme soon gets very dramatic. The end of the movement brings again the memory of the first theme and flows almost uninterruptedly into the last movement. This is a very fast, polyrhythmically movement of a somewhat eastern character. The rhythmical cells and motives soon "evaporate" into a very tranquil postlude fading out delicately.

The work was commissioned by the Israel Symhpony Orchestra Rishon-Lezion, which gave it its world premiere in 1992 under the baton of Noam Sheriff. It is dedicated to the orchestra's solo cellist Doron Toister and was awarded a grant by Tel-Aviv Foundation for Literature and Art.

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