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OfanĂŹm (author's note)

Ofanim
for female voice, two children’s choirs, two instrumental groups, and live electronics
(1988-1992)

The text of Ofanim (in Hebrew, ofanim means both “wheels” and “modes”) alternates fragments from the book of Ezekiel with verses from the Song of Songs. The dramatic vision of Ezekiel (chapter 1) - the most personal and apocalyptic of all prophets, clashes with the earthly sensuality of the verses from the Song of Songs (chapters 4 and 5). The phantasmagoric visions of Ezekiel whirl around in perpetual motion against a burning sky. The poetic images from the Song of Songs dwell longingly on the face and body of the beloved. The final fragment (Ezekiel, 19) suddenly gives a different perspective to the work: every motion is arrested, every light is extinguished. The scented orchard gives way to a withered vineyard and the image of the Mother, uprooted from her land and cast down to a “dry and thirsty ground”, evokes the memory of all the mothers of our time, of all the exiles and the havocs that have left deep wounds in our conscience.
The music of Ofanim develops various modes of rotation and movement in the acoustic space. Written for two children’s choirs, two instrumental groups and a female voice, Ofanim employs the new technologies developed at the Centro Tempo Reale of Florence. Musical thought today must be able to interact with the new technologies and to adapt itself creatively to every kind of space, exploring and reshaping it acoustically. The image of music as sound architecture is no longer a mere metaphor: it represents a concrete possibility. It is, of course, a mobile and flexible architecture, capable of adaptation to different situations and environments. Therefore the acoustic strategy of Ofanim (namely the software that determines its acoustic profile) has to be modified with each new performance and consequently several aspects of the work are “recomposed”.
Ofanim is dedicated to the memory of Rivi Pecker.

Luciano Berio