Mivtza Kadesh (The Text of the Order of the Day), Cantata
Cantata for Baritone, Choir and Orchestra
A recording from the ninth Israeli Independence Day ceremony, May 15, 1957:
Zipora Kuperman, Alto*
Marc Lavry, Conductor
Kol Zion Lagola Choir (The Broadcasting Service Choir)
Kol Israel Symphony Orchestra (The Broadcasting Service Orchestra)
*Note: Even though the composition was written for a solo Baritone, the solo part in is recording is sung by Alto.
Lyrics: Asaf Simchoni
Publisher: The Marc Lavry Heritage Society
Major General Asaf Simchoni who led t the Kadesh Campaign in 1956 (AKA the Sinai War), was killed at the end of the war. To commemorate him, it was decided to compose the text of the order of the day he delivered to the soldiers before going into battle.
Galei Tzahal (the Israeli Defense Forces radio) sent young soldier, Israel Daliot, to recruit Marc Lavry for the task. In a telephone interview in 2013 Daliot recounts: “As a young soldier I was chosen to try to convince the renown composer Marc Lavry to set music to Simchoni’s text. Despite being anxious due to the the awe and admiration I had for him, Lavry immediately made me feel comfortable and asked for a few days’ extension to think it over. In two days Lavry gave his consent. The recording took place in the YMCA concert hall in Jerusalem and Lavry invited me to accompany him. It was amazing to witness the ease and professionalism of Lavry’s work.”
Efrat, the composer’s daughter, added about the writing of the piece: “In fact, dad said that he initially did not accept the request at all because it seemed very strange to compose music to military text a commander disseminated to his soldiers… But after reading the text, and because as he said, the soldier (Israel Daliot) was very nice, but mainly because Lavry was always up for the challenge, he decided to join the mission and write the composition.”
The cantata Mivtza Kadesh was performed at an official ceremony for the ninth Israeli Independence Day in 1957. It was the first time that Galei Tzahal (the Israeli Defense Forces radio) and Kol Israel (the Israeli broadcasting service) collaborated and simultaneously broadcasted the performance.
Lavry, who had a knack for drama, succeeded in taking prosaic text, a military order of the day, and communicating its spirit in music. He combined March rhythms, describing the commander leading his troops into battle, with lyrical music, portraying the suffering of the residents of Israel and the events that led to the war.
The most difficult sentences, “our soldiers will hit the enemy for killing innocent people; murdering peaceful mothers; murdering children in their cribs,” even Lavry couldn’t find a way to describe it in song. Instead he unexpectedly assigned a narrator to announce these painful words.
Part I: “Today the signal will be given…”
Part II: “Today the acts of murder will be brought to an end…”
Part III: “The Southern forces, its commanders and soldiers, will combat the enemy army… until it will be assured that every Israeli child safely sleeps in his crib, until peace prevails in Israel.”