Halil is formally unlike any other work I have written…
On this day, May 27, 1981, Leonard Bernstein premiered a new mystical work for flute and orchestra, Halil: Nocturne for Solo Flute, String Orchestra, and Percussion, with the Israel Philharmonic.
Bernstein dedicated Halil to Yadin Tennenbaum, an Israeli flute student killed in his tank during the 1973 war:
Halil is formally unlike any other work I have written, but it is like much of my music in its struggle between tonal and non-tonal forces. In this case I sense that struggle as involving wars and the threats of wars, the overwhelming desire to live and the consolations of art, love, and the hope for peace. …
I never knew Yadin Tennenbaum, but I know his spirit.
“Halil” is the Hebrew word for flute.
Listen to Bernstein conducting the Israel Philharmonic, with flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal:
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Portions of this post provided courtesy of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.