In Search of a Sacred Ethos
A Composer’s Creative Odyssey
Contemporary man and his computer stand at the edge of a new precipice striving for the cosmic energy that moves the waves of the sea, inspires the growth of trees and causes the stars to shine. Enveloped as we are in artificial environments, virtual reality, and the endless brainwashing of media’s Big Brother, we discover that Traditional spirit has evaporated.
The models, norms and standards of the past are no longer of use. We turn to science for the answer, but encounter technicians – specialists who know more and more about less and less. When we re-examine the political history, we were taught in school, we come to realize that it covers only the surface of the truth we seek.
Into this reality, I struggled to synthesize the inspiration of the Bible, the timelessness of the desert, and centuries of accumulated ethnic traditions and folklore – in styles ranging from traditional to polytonal, atonal to aleatory. This is my journey.
Max Stern - composer, conductor, performer, musicologist and educator – is a renowned pioneer figure in Israel's musical life. He has created of a rich genre of prize-winning biblical compositions blending Ancient and Modern, East and West, with contemporary idioms and genres; celebrated for their personal language in balance between tradition and innovation, eloquence and warmth, in collaborations with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony of Thailand, Israel Sinfonietta, Talich Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonie Orchester Biel and others - eliciting enthusiastic responses from professionals and listeners alike - expressive authentic and original, touching the past, breaking into the future. Music critic for The Jerusalem Post, and founding professor of music at Ariel University, Dr. Stern has authored acclaimed books on the influences of the Old Testament on Western Music: Bible & Music and Psalms & Music.