Music > Song of the Day > Balaam and the Ass

Balaam and the Ass

The biblical story of Balak and Balaam inspired Israeli composer Max Stern (b.1947) to try and retell the story in music. This was no small challenge. How does one lend musical expression to the braying of an ass? A trombone perhaps? And what about a sorceror and an incensed prophet? Percussion? An angel? Perhaps a delicate percussion instrument will do the trick.
 
We bring you an excerpt of the work, from Max Stern's personal archive, which is catalogued in the National Library's music department.
 
We also bring you a 1954 recording of a traditional reading of the relevant biblical verses from Florence, Italy. The voice is that of Fernando Procaccia.
Song of the Day
Song of the Day
The songs presented here come from the National Library's extensive collection of songs, prayers and other musical works. The songs are preserved and made available via the website with the assistance of the Legacy Heritage Fund.