Yehuda Yannay, composer and Stephen Pevnick, artist and designer, join forces challenging traditional notions of music, instrumentation and visual presentation in Radiant Inner Light.This is a two-hour multi-media piece based on the Kabbalistic work of the Divine Light of Rabbi Naftali from Bacharach (on the Rhein) from the 17th Century, using mantra-type meditations on the Hebrew alphabet, also invented by the 13th Century mystic Abulafia. The work for reciter and four performing musicians is based on invented and custom-built metal percussion instruments. played simultaneously at different tempi.
Through the performance the reciter reads all possible combinations of two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. He either calls out the names of the letters, or, when the letters can form a Hebrew word he pronounces the word. For example “shin" and "mem” form “shem”, that is the word “name.” Unlike conventional instruments, these custom-built percussion pieces are created out of such common hardware as rings, sockets, springs, saw blades, and a wheel. Carefully calibrated, they produce rich metallic sounds symbolizing, for the artists, the Divine Light piece offer a fresh approach to traditional Judaic music.
Filmed at Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee,
January 15, 2000
Yehuda Yannay, voice, projected calligrams, wall calligrams
Hal Rammel, musical saw
Andy Blochowiak/Maxon Day/Josh Schmidt, percussion and harmonica
Marie Mellott/ Maxine Banks, projections
Pavel Burda, percussion fountain
Josh Schmidt, project coordination and consulting
Marie Mellott, slide photography, wall calligrams display design and
Raoul Deal/ Jason Pogo, display finishing
Triolins were design and built by Hal Rammel
Harry Bertoia sculptures are from the collection of the Haggerty Museum of Art