Biblical musical drama in three acts composed by
Elam Rotem in the spirit of the early Operas
Using the musical language and
context of the revolutionary musical Dramas by Cavalieri, Caccini, and
Monteverdi, the piece tells the story of Joseph and his brethren – one of the
most touching stories of the old testament. The piece was composed especially for ensemble Profeti della Quinta, and is set for five voices, instruments, and basso-continuo. The text is taken directly from the book of Genesis in its original Hebrew (subtitles in various languages are available).
The piece stresses the implications of taking
early music a step further: not only to bring music from the past to
the present day, but by acquiring lost skills of music making and attempting to
understand the spirit of the time, to create new work of art.
As written in the preface to Emilio de Cavalieri's Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo (1600, Rome), the aim of music is to move the feelings of the listeners: "mercy and happiness,
crying and laughter" (à pieta e à giubilo; à pianto e à riso"). The Rappresentatione de Giuseppe e i suoi Fratelli follows this ideal, and aims to move the affects of the listeners, even the doubtful ones.
Elam Rotem is the director of Profeti della Quinta, Harpscihord player, Bass singer and a composer. He
completed his specialized master studies at the Schola Cantorum Basel
(Basso-continuo, improvisation and composition) with distinction. Apart from his
activity in Profeti della Quinta, Elam is currently researching the first musical dramas.
Picture taken from the first performance of the piece, 29th May 2012, Predigerkirche, Basel.