From the inspiration of the desert and folklore, composer Max Stern has created his own unique style - combining traditional elements with the methods of modern serious music. He has studied Yemenite cantillation and the North African instrument "ud," which, besides the Arabs, was used by the Jews of Morocco. He visited scared places and absorbed the atmosphere of the sun-baked desert. He listened to the traditional religious songs of the people. In the end, he himself began to sing and play this traditional music. This is music which walks in the footsteps of the Prophets. (from the article "Inspiration in the Dester of Israel" by Alex Svamberk, culture editor, "Mlada Fronta DNES," Prague (8.9.95).
Bereshith: Creation of the World (1991)
for soprano, flute, percussion, and strings
Text (Hebrew): Gen. 1:1-31, 2:1-3
In this biblical account of Creation, light radiates throughout its seven movements, each variation is a day in the process of formation. The narrator is a cherub who recounts what she saw at the dawn of Creation. The flute is a bird hovering and bearing witness in fluttering, sputtering, stammering, stuttering arabesque.
Song of the Morning Stars (1979)
This cosmic song sung at the dawn of Creation depicts the moment "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7)."
Built upon tonal materials and asymmetric meter it combines modern writing with poetry and tradition.
Piyutasia "Sephardic Fantasy" (1989)
for flute and piano
This arabesque presents piyut melodies from Morocco, Yemen and Turkey in a broader frame. The piano writing is styled after the Middle Eastern instrument "kannun."
Sonnet for Orchestra (1968)
a lyric tone poem
Serenade to A City (1967)
for string sextet
The three and a half movements of this urban soundscape conjure up images and landscapes of traffic and congestion, lonely brownstone steps, children and parks, trains and subways: energico, lyrico and ritmico.