About the author’s personality – GENESIS project
Can you give us shortly your CV as a mathematician, philosopher, poet and musician?
Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, eighty years ago, I left with my parents the country for Berlin, Germany for two months and returned 35 years later from Zurich, Switzerland, with my wife and four kids, a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Physics and a Doctorate in Mathematics to Tel-Aviv, to work there at the Faculty of Business Administration of the Tel-Aviv University as a Senior Research Associate.
In between I finished school in Berlin, studied at the University of Zurich, worked as an actuary in research and development at the Swiss Reinsurance Company, which is one of the two largest reinsurance companies in the world. Moreover, I was invited to lecture and lectured at 20 universities, participated in dozens of International Actuarial Meetings, published 67 papers in scientific journals, wrote for universities a book “Introduction into Financial Mathematics” and the very important and successful book “Limits of Insurability” that was translated into several languages – and I started to write poetry and to compose.
— Which of all these domains take a special influence on your personality?
All of them, mathematics as well as philosophy, poetry and music are not disconnected one from the other. They are all very close to me and therefore influence my personality separately as well as together. I would say, they are part of my personality.
— Why is it for man important to be familiar with Holy Scriptures?
If a person believes that there is a God who a:created the world and b:gave us in some way the holy scriptures, then it is obvious that the holy scriptures are important for him.
But, moreover, I observed that the public all over the world from different countries, with different religions, who certainly included also many persons without any belief in a Major Force a at all, reacted to my symphonic poems with enthusiasm, since the Biblical text, combined with beautiful, classical music, is convincing and ravishing. It seems to be a fact that the Bible is somehow “implanted” in many of us.
— How does the knowledge of the Thora contribute to man’s life?
A most important decision in the life of a person who believes in God is whether to live a religious life or not. If a person knows the Thora (the 5 books of Moses) and is ready to strictly keep the 613 commandments that are included in her, then the Bible influences his way of life to a very high degree.
Man has got a free will that allows him to decide on many things, even to a very far reaching extent on his way of life and to what extent the Holy Scriptures will influence his life.
I believe that exact sciences, philosophy, prose, poetry and especially music can take an important part on man’s decisions domain how to form his life. Of course he needs knowledge in each domain, before it can influence him.
— How did you work on Genesis?
Genesis was not planned from the beginning to be a symphonic poem, the more so a symphony with a prologue, 7 pieces that describe in musical terms 7 important events regarding the creation of the world and the beginning of mankind and an epilogue.
One day the idea came up that a melody I composed may describe the first day of the world’s creation. To make sure that the listeners would understand what I mean, a second idea came up to let a narrator, as a soloist, read the text that I wished to describe in musical terms. Since the Bible as thebestseller of all times was translated into all languages, I was very happy to “discover” that the narrator’s text did not need to be translated and could be read and understood in every local language.
After the composition of the first day’s creation it was quite natural for me to seek other chapters in the beginning of the Bible that may be of interest to be composed and like that step by step “Genesis” was created in 3.5 years and is developing and expanding in different terms and directions up to this day while my dear friend Nachum Slutzker does not “leave me alone” with his brilliant ideas and enormous knowledge as a great musician.
— How and why did you choose the topics for each part?
I wished to choose chapters that are dominant in history and philosophy for the development of the world and mankind and may be significant and of interest for each single person when analyzing them.
There are principle questions that interest me from a philosophical point of view and are dealt with in the Thora, that influenced me to choose the topics for each part. They appear in each part directly or indirectly and lead to dramatic results.
Questions like why was man created incompletely or why was evil inclination implanted into him that lead to results like the “Driving out” from the Garden of Eden, the murder of Abel by Cain and the extinction of nearly all mankind by the “Flood” come up again and again in the different musical parts that were chosen in relation to such questions.
— How did the cooperation start with the producer Nachum Slutzker?
Nachum was recommended to me more than 30 years ago as wonderful violin teacher for my sons. It turned out that he is not only an excellent producer but a great teacher and musician and in the first place a really good friend with all his heart.
By the way, I play the violin and nevertheless I joined my sons as a pupil of Nachum. He became aside from my family my best friend who influences me a lot and always in the right direction. He had and has an important influence on my sons who were his pupils and actually on my whole family who loves him with his unique humor.
— Why do you think the wish for cooperation with Nachum continues?
This question requires other questions:
Is there any reason not to go on working together when the cooperation is pleasant and shows fruits?
I very much believe in the proverb:
Don’t change a winning team
I feel and know that our wish for cooperation is mutual and Nachum wishes and likes to cooperate with me as I wish to cooperate with him and this reciprocity is a diamond in our relationship. We observe that our relationship bears fruits and enthusiasm which lighted other wonderful musicians that are by now good friends of us, to join us and help us develop the “Baruch Berliner’s Genesis International Project” on internet.
— How does the audience all over the world receive “Genesis”?
“Genesis” was performed in many countries with philharmonic orchestras, chamber orchestras, as a rock-symphony and even as a ballet and the reaction of the audience to the combination of the classical music with the Biblical text was everywhere, without any exception very positive, even enthusiastic. The idea to combine the music with a narrator, who can be better understood than a singer, was widely accepted. Often a video-art, made by the Israeli artist “Jewboy” for “Genesis” – that was created to add an “optical feeling” and explanation to text and the music – was attached and very widely accepted.
— What do the multiple styles (symphonic, rock, ballet) contribute to different audiences in different ages?
As I said, experience has convinced me that beautiful classical music with a narrator reading Biblical texts in the local language is a “winning team”. But this is completely correct under the assumption, that the style of music is adjusted to the listeners. In our case it is just the other way round: We offer the narrator with classical music in different places in in different styles and the potential listener has to decide whether the style that is tendered fits him or not.
By the way, there is no narrator in ballet. There the dance, respectively the choreographer, has to tell the audience the respective Biblical story.
The public’s reaction to various versions of my work clearly shows that we are on the right path, so we continue to develop our project and supplement it with new versions. There are plans for another ballet production, a piano version of a symphonic poem and much more.