Jailhouse Concerto

Naftali Schindler
NYS Publishing
Classical / Concerto
Piano, Flute, Flute piccolo, Clarinet, Bassoon, Oboe, Horn, Trombone, Trumpet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass, Gong, Timpani, Contrabassoon, Bass Clarinet
Scored for
Symphonic orchestra
Type of score
Full score
1 to 2 from 2
Year of composition

I started writing this concerto while in Israeli military prison and the second movement is based on jail experiences, therefore the title.
The movements are very tightly (and cerebrally!) constructed. starts with a unison and slowly adds very small intervals, the intervals expand until we are left with a unison again. Those who know what interval vectors can visualize the numbers in the vectors representing the various tonal area of the piece, creeping in from the left and exiting from the right, but who cares about that?! The sound is what's important and it conveys the anger and occasional depression occasioned by my incarceration.
The second movement, called Shesh Besh (the name for backgammon in the Middle East), is inspired by three jail experiences. One is the fact the people sat and played backgammon all day. The second is the singing in the jail synagogue, which tended to be in several different keys simultaneously. The third is standing at attention in the courtyard snapping our feet together and apart rhythmically, punctuated by shouts of "ken harasap!" (Yes, O Staff Sergeant!). The piece is based on repeating the same melody with different numbers of voices at parallel harmony in many different intervals. These repetitions are punctuated by episodes imitating the stomping of feet and shouts of "ken harasap!" The backgammon inspired the use of dice to come up with a number series which determined the number of voices, the specific intervals that accompany the melody, the number of stompings before the shout, and the number of voices and the pitches involved in the shout.

Upload date: 02 May 2011


Sheet music file
PDF, 670.8 Kb (70 p.)



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