Gotta trust me on this one.
Yom is a clarinetist who plays the earthier “G” (as opposed to the more normal Bb) clarinet along with bassist Claude Tchamithcian, cellist Farid D and Bijan Chemirani, who takes on a slew of Middle Eastern percussive things like the daf, bendir and zarb. So, what do you do for an hour’s worth of music with these instruments? Why not make a musical out of Moses’ Biblical account of the Exodus of the Jewish People out of Egypt and into the Promised Land? It works! And better than the Christian Bale version of the movie!
There are 14 connected movements to this suite, and it’s best to take it in altogether in one sitting encounter. You get agonizing reeds that evoke feelings of crying to God, mystical strings that take you from plagues to the Red Sea and to the Sinai desert, and percussion that guide you on this odyssey of religious freedom. There is a mix of structure and improvisation, which makes much of the music feel like Israeli and Greek music of a generation ago in the local smoky taverns. Here, in this context you can feel the revolts of a people, the plots and subplots of conflict between Moses and Pharoah, and Moses and his people. Conflicts of cultures, religion and politics (sound familiar?) are exquisitely portrayed here, with sighs as well as divine communications being expressed by each artist, both individually and collectively.
If you loved the book, you’ll love the music, and vice versa.