Program Note

Hajdu’s Niggun is dedicated to the memory of Kovler’s most influential mentor, Israeli composer Andre Hajdu.

Hajdu may be a name less familiar to American audiences. A pupil of Zoltan Kodaly and Olivier Messiaen, he is considered to be the Bela Bartok of Hasidic music. Hajdu’s concert music that integrated Jewish folklore from Eastern Europe into a broader compositional idiom, sparked Kovler’s long time fascination with the world of Nigguns (wordless evocative melodies). Like Hajdu, Kovler has a special affinity for the clarinet (the most “singing” of instruments). Hajdu’s “Teruat Melekh,” (A Jewish Rhapsody) in recording by Giora Feidman and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, was among the inspirations behind Kovler’s clarinet trio “Shoresh Nishmat” (clarinetist Margaret Thornhill gave the West Coast premier of the work.) Mátti’s other works for the clarinet include “Wergelands Flower,” commissioned and recorded by Duo Brillaner, and “Clarinet Quintet” recorded by Shirley Brill and Ariel Quartet.


The work was commissioned by Margaret Thornhill and the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir.