Emmanuel Witzthum: Verweile doch, du bist so schön
On the occasion of the celebrations of "1700 years of Jewish life in Germany", which will run until July, the Enjoy Jazz Festival has commissioned a composition. Emmanuel Witzthum, an Israeli composer with German roots, has titled his piece, which will be premiered today, with the 1700th verse from Goethe's "Faust I": "Verweile doch! du bist so schön!" (original spelling). This commissioned work by Emmanuel Witzthum will be performed with Ensemble Modern. The two integrated prayers are based on melodies from the prayer book of the then cantor of the Mannheim synagogue. This unique copy was rescued in 1938 from the rubble of the synagogue destroyed during the November pogroms and represents a central reference of the commissioned composition to Mannheim. Witzthum, who studied viola with Michael Tree (Guarneri Quartet) in New York and played under Pierre Boulez in the "Ensemble intercontemporain", describes his composition as a "coming together not only of physical bodies in space, but of a spiritual bond that connects them. A work that is structured to afford a space of exchange, communication and building together. Its reference and inspiration is the essence of the spiritual community, the Gemeinschaft."