Alex WeiserNY, NY
Broad gestures and rich textures are hallmarks of the “compelling” (The New York Times), “deliciously wistful” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “personal, expressive, and bold,” (I Care If You Listen) music of composer Alex Weiser. Born and raised in New York City, Weiser creates acutely cosmopolitan music combining a deeply felt historical perspective with a vibrant forward-looking creativity. Weiser’s debut album and all the days were purple, was named a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Music. Released by Cantaloupe Music in April 2019, the album includes songs in Yiddish and English and has been praised as “ravishing” (The New Yorker) and “utterly original and exquisitely unsettling… sweeping, bewitching, divinely dissonant… pitch-perfect.” (In Geveb).
and all the days were purple 1. My Joy
Perhaps this was my happiness:
to feel how your eyes
bowed down before me.
No, rather this was my happiness:
to go silently back and forth
across the square with you.
No, not even that, but listen:
how over our joy
there hovered the smiling face of death.
And all the days were purple
and all were hard.
after shir hashirim
shir hashirim is the ur-love poem. An ecstatic erotic book found in ketuvim (writings) in the Jewish bible, it has been a source of inspiration for generation after generation of Hebrew love poems. The original text itself contains multitudes: from descriptions of kisses, wine, and sweet fragrances, to passages lamenting a lost love, to lines that are odd and inscrutable, to a warning that love is as strong as death, unquenchable and undrownable. I aimed to find a musical world in which all of this could coexist.
Motivated by a mixture of philosemitic encouragement to explore their Jewish identity, as well as antisemitic discouragement that kept them from feeling fully Russian, Jewish students of the St. Petersburg...