Shabbat with King David combines two melodies: a pentatonic melody on D and an e-minor melody. I associate the pentatonic melody with the biblical King David and his ecstatic dancing when bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The melody came to me one Friday night (the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath) in June when I found myself dancing and singing in the moonlight along the ocean shore, with the joyous spirit of King David. The words dovid melech yisrael chai chai v’kayam,(David king of Israel lives forever) which are found in traditional songs about King David, also came with this melody. The e-minor melody came later, along with the Hebrew words hayom yom menucha (today is the day of rest) which are used to describe the Sabbath. So both melodies have to do with Shabbat (Sabbath), and the first one has links to King David, hence the title, Shabbat with King David.
This composition for string orchestra was commissioned by the Richland School District II Orchestra, Pamela Hayes, Director, Columbia, SC, for its performance in Carnegie Hall, June 15, 1997. My daughter, Esther, was playing cello in the orchestra at the time.-
A few words about Shabbat:
Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, commemorates the 7th day of Creation when God rested (Shavat) from the work of creation. It is a weekly observance in which Jews refrain from working, and spend the day (from sundown Friday to dark, Saturday) in spiritual activities such as group prayer and study, communal reading from the Torah, and festive family meals which include rituals and singing. The 25 hour period is a weekly retreat into sanctified time, and its observance fulfills the fourth of the Ten Commandments, “Remember the Sabbat Day to keep it holy.”
– Meira Warshauer