The Evolution of the Jewish National Identity in the Work of Ilya Heifetz | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


The article is devoted to the instrumental work of the modern Russian-Israeli composer Ilya Heifetz. His life and creative path is divided into two stages: the Russian (until 1991) and the Israeli, in each of which the question of understanding his national roots arises with great acuteness. During his life in the USSR, in Omsk, despite all the integration into Soviet society, the composer feels himself to be different. This feeling is based on the national identity, which is complemented by the collective memory of anti-Semitism and maintained by fragments of traditions and folklore. In Israel, having found himself in a motley society of Jews from different countries, I. Heifetz continues to experience alienation and identifies himself more and more as a Russian Jew, relying not only on nationality, but also on such criteria as the Russian language, and specifically acquires through it the Russian culture and the Russian mentality. All this could not but affect the composer's work. The ‘Jewish’ theme, which is cross-cutting for him, includes many-sided aspects and subtopics in different periods. In the Soviet period, it is primarily Jewish folklore, the theme of the Holocaust and Jewish pogroms. After the move, these components are supplemented with new religious meanings and the theme of national conflicts in modern Israel.


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