Music and Judaism

A delicate musical and literary journey proposed by Maestro Jordi Savall through the 3,000-year history of Jerusalem makes us aware that the people of the Mediterranean are one and the same culture because we have a common music. This was far from being the perception of Richard Wagner, who around 1850 publicly expressed his opinion, writing about the alleged absolute inability of Jews to express feelings or ideas, that is, to compose and perform music (read his text Judaism in Music).

Shortly afterwards, in the same central European musical and cultural environment, Gustav Mahler, from his own creative inner self, declared himself a foreigner three times, precisely because of his Jewishness, among others: “Bohemian among Austrians; Austrian among Germans, and Jew in the world”. Some 30-40 years later, when the world was subjected to Nazi horror, a Jewish cabaret artist in the Warsaw ghetto survived thanks to her talent for music. Wiera Gran sang for months accompanied on the piano by W. Szpilman. Many years later, having survived that hardship, Wiera Gran died, far away from Warsaw, and without being able to free herself from the accusation of collaborationism. At the last Prince of Asturias awards ceremony, Leonard Cohen, who is not and is not considered a “Jewish artist”, brought out the voice of the extraordinary poet that he is, and surprised the world with an improvised story, full of nuances, and narrated in the traditional Jewish way.

For all these reasons, we considered it appropriate to programme our series of conferences around the theme of the relationship between “Music and Judaism”, a very old, true, prolific and productive relationship, although not always accepted, understood and seen by all in the same way.

The lectures in the series were the following:

Here you can find the complete programme of the lectures.