lam Rotem


Joseph and his Brethren – Musical drama in three acts, 
composed in the spirit of the early operas for five voices, 
basso continuo, and instruments.

 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 di Giuseppe e i suoi Fratelli follows this ideal, and aims to move the affects of the listeners, even the doubtful ones. 

Introduction video

Excerpt from ATTO PRIMO, Scena IV  

Elam Rotem's article about "New-early music" and his Rappresentatione - Click here

"In their new CD, the vocal ensemble 'Profeti della Quinta' present a dramatic, path-breaking work, which transcends historical and geographical boundaries. 'Joseph and his Brethren' is both a precious relic of the past and a new, innovative opera."
Noam Ben-Zeev, HAARETS, 28/03/14 [translated by Uri Golomb] “It is rare in life to attend a musical event, leaving speechless with emotion and filled with a sense of awe at having experienced rare artistry of the highest level.”
Pamela hickman's concert critique blog 23/12/12

“Joseph and his Brethren, in a brilliant performance by the Profeti della Quinta, is a ‘first of its kind’ experience which definitely marks a new path.”
Yossi Schifman, Radio Reshet Bet 26/12/12 [translated by Simon Mac Hale]

“The Israeli premiere of Joseph and his Brethren, as anticipated, revealed itself as one of the most important events of the season – if not the most important.”
Amir Kidron, MUSIC4AWHILE, 26/12/12 [translated by Simon Mac Hale]
“The result achieved by Rotem is stimulating and exciting. It is a combination of this wonderful story- which is an extremely dramatic one, the Biblical Hebrew (accurately enunciated), and thoughtfully composed music. This well-known story gained significant amplification through the, at times, spine-tingling music.”
Hagay Hitron, HAARETS, 27/12/12 [translated by Simon Mac Hale]

Elam Rotem is a Harpsichordist, composer and singer. He specialized in historical performance practice at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, and graduated with a master’s degree in continuo playing and another in improvisation and composition, focusing on the vocal and instrumental music of the 16th and 17th centuries. Currently, Rotem is working on his PhD thesis, within a new collaborative program between the Schola Cantorum in Basel and the University of Würzburg, Germany. His research focuses on the first operas and musical dramas in Italy at the beginning of the 17th century.


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