לוגו הסימפונט באנגלית

Rite of Fire

The universe is made up of four elements: earth, water, wind and fire, in that order, from bottom to top. This belief has been prevalent for centuries in philosophy, in the basic beliefs that have found expression in various drawings and paintings in an attempt to understand the secret of the structure of the place in which we live. Of the four elements, the first three are a given: earth, water and wind have been here since time immemorial and are not under human control, they are living sources and living beings consume them for their livelihood. Fire occupies a special place. It began as a gift from other spheres. From the moment it was given to human beings it had to be guarded and hence for example “The Perpetual Fire.” The priests or priestesses were commanded to guard it. Fire tales exist in various mythologies, in the Greek one for example the son of the gods Prometheus who created man and then revealed to humans the secret of the creation of fire was punished.

The rite of fire or perpetual fire accompanies many beliefs. The fire must be kept because it is the source of the vitality of living beings. Fire was also the only element that man learned to create himself. From now on, the place of fire in different systems of thought is clear. In astrology which relies on the four elements, for example, there is a division between the zodiac signs and groups identified with the four elements. The zodiac signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, which are the zodiac signs of fire, are the explorers, seekers, discoverers and the like.

These are the associations that come up on the eve of the bonfire holiday, Lag B’Omer. For us, this is definitely a good time to check the presence of fire in the world of classical music. Fire is distinguished in the Requiem text. In the Recordare, the prayer hopes not to burn in the eternal fire, ” Sed tu bonus fac benigne, Ne perenni cremer igne” – Yet, good Lord, in grace complying, Rescue me from fires undying. This text may be found in the second movement, the Dies Irae (Day of Wrath).  One might recommend listening to the various Requiem settings and discovering the various ways in which composers depicted the eternal fire, starting with Mozart, through Berlioz, Verdi, Poulenc and many others.

Author: Yossi Schiffmann

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