Intermezzo with Arik

In the evening when I'm tired, before I go to bed.
I like a little music to relax my weary head,
And so I turn to YouTube where I can always see
"Intermezzo" from Israeli educational TV.

The host is Arik Vardi, one of Israel's great musicians,
A pianist, a conductor, and a judge at competitions.
He teaches in Hanover, but Jerusalem's home ground.
His manner is avuncular, his knowledge is profound.

My Hebrew's barely adequate, neglected many a year,
But the subject matter's limited, and Vardi's always clear.
And of course the more I watch, the more I get into a groove.
I've learned what a tizmoret is and what is an aboov.

An array of dazzling talent, both from Israel and from hu"l,
The world's foremost musicians and students still in school.
The amazing Alma Deutscher, the delightful Claire Huangci,
André Hajdu, Zubin Mehta, András Schiff from Hungary.

There's classical, jazz, pop and rock. They've had medieval chant.
Traditional folk music from the Balkans and Levant.
There's much I've never heard before; there's some that all know well.
Oginski's "Farewell, Homeland!"; Rossini's William Tell.

The interviews teach music through the medium of chat.
The music plays; the world has naught more beautiful than that!
And Vardi thanks the players for the pleasure that they gave:
"Kol kach madhim!" "Kol kach maksim!" "Kol kach noge'a la lev!"

tizmoret: orchestra.
aboov: oboe.
hu"l: outside Israel.
"Kol kach madhim!" "Kol kach maksim!" "Kol kach noge'a la lev!": So amazing! So enchanting! So touching to the heart!


This is part of the collection Verses for the Information Age by Ernest Davis