Performance of the Davis High School Symphony Orchestra at the Wennberg Music Festival, March 27, 2010 in the UC Davis Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Cello soloist: Isabel Ortiz.
Kol Nidrei, Op. 47 (also known as All Vows, the meaning of the phrase in Aramaic), is a composition for cello and orchestra written by Max Bruch. First published in 1881, it was dedicated to and premiered by Robert Hausmann.
It is styled as an Adagio on 2 Hebrew Melodies for Cello and Orchestra with Harp and consists of a series of variations on two main themes of Jewish origin. The first theme, which also lends the piece its title, comes from the Kol Nidre prayer which is recited during the evening service on Yom Kippur. The second subject of the piece is quoted from the middle section of Isaac Nathan's arrangement of "O Weep for Those that Wept on Babel's Stream", a lyric which was penned by Lord Byron.
Bruch was a Protestant and first became acquainted with the Kol Nidre melody when his teacher Ferdinand Hiller introduced him to the Cantor Abraham Jacob Lichtenstein, who was known to have cordial relations with many Christian musicians and supported Bruch's interest in Jewish folk music. While some commentators have criticized the dearth of Jewish sentiment in Bruch's concert-hall Kol Nidrei, Bruch never presumed to write Jewish music. He only wished to incorporate Jewish inspirations into his own compositions.
The work is scored for solo cello, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3trombones, timpani, harp and strings.