The stories in these pieces were told by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov between the years 1806 and 1810. They originated in the oral tradition of Hassidism, and were later written down by Rabbi Nachman’s chief disciple and scribe, Rabbi Nathan Sternhartz. They have been hailed as bringing Jewish literature into modernity, and were highly valued by the later Czech-Jewish novelist Franz Kafka.
Rabbi Nachman’s purpose in telling these stories, however, was not literary. Instead, for him such story-telling ” …contributes(s) to the restoration (tikkun) of this shattered world in which all mankind ﬁnds itself. The tale has the power of redemption; telling the tale is, in essence, a redemptive act.” (Dr. A. J. Band, introduction to the Paulist Press translation of the tales.)
For reasons of musical story-telling, I have chosen three of the simplest of the Rabbi’s tales. (In fact, they are all so short that they are usually left out of modern collections of the Rabbi’s stories.) My approach to the stories was to imagine them as if they were short animated ﬁlms, and to write the music accordingly. I hope I have succeeded at least as far as making them listenable, entertaining, and fun.
Three Tales of Rabbi Nachman was written for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra Wind Ensemble in 2022.
For the December 3, 2022 Holiday Concert, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing one of the three musical tales, The Turkey Prince.
THE TURKEY PRINCE
(duration: 4 minutes)
Although it was not included in the original collection of 13 Tales, The Turkey Prince has become perhaps the most popular of Rabbi Nachman’s stories, as evidenced by the many variations and commentaries now available online.
Perhaps the simplest and most direct commentary comes from Yossy Gordon on chabad.org ” Fortunately, most of us don’t suffer from turkey complexes. But here’s a question we can all ask of ourselves: Am I limiting my potential because of my self perception?”
- The Turkey;
- The Wise Doctor;
- Making Friends;
- On the Mend;
- Cured Turkey!