Order of Chivalry: Obedience


Kaddish                 M. Ravel (1875-1937)
Susan Addington, Flute


The Order of Chivalry: Obedience                  W. Zeitler

Maurice Ravel composed “Deux Mélodies Hébraïques” (“Two Hebrew Melodies”) in 1914 for voice and piano. (Today we hear it on flute instead.) A few years later Ravel arranged them for orchestra. The first piece is called “Kaddish”, which is a Jewish liturgical chant praising God, and also sung by mourners after the death of a loved one.  Along with the Shema and Amidah, the Kaddish is one of the most important and central prayers in the Jewish liturgy.

Here’s an English translation:

Exalted and hallowed be His great Name.
Throughout the world which He has created according to His Will. May He establish His kingdom, bring forth His redemption
In your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon, and say, Amen.
May His great Name be blessed forever and to all eternity.
Blessed and praised, glorified, exalted and extolled, honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He.
Beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world; and say, Amen.

For the postlude I’m continuing my series drawn from Llull’s The Book of the Order of Chivalry (1275) in which he metaphorically links various items of the knight’s equipment to chivalrous virtues. This week we have ‘Obedience’. In this piece I’m imagining the wild exuberance of our young squire, who chooses to submit himself to the discipline and training of his order, much of which requires practicing skills over and over. All this is musically symbolized by a ‘canon’ (which is like a ’round’ like “Row, row, row your boat”) over a repeating seven-bar bass melody. As the canon unfolds, so too does long discipline unfold his natural abilities, transforming him into a powerful Warrior.