Reply To: Non-Jewish Jewish Music

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Some music written by non-Jews is beautiful and inspirational. The “Va, Pensiero” chorus from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco” sounds like it could have been written by David HaMelech and in fact it was inspired by “Al Naharat Bavel”. Verdi was not a Jew but he loved the Jewish people and sympathized with our struggles.

Here are the words, by Temistocle Solera:

Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate;

va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,

ove olezzano tepide e molli

l’aure dolci del suolo natal!

Del Giordano le rive saluta,

di Sionne le torri atterrate…

Arpa d’or dei fatidici vati,

Le memorie nel petto raccendi,

ci favella del tempo che fu!

traggi un suono di crudo lamento,

o t’ispiri il Signore un concento

An English translation, from the Wikipedia site:

Fly, thought, on wings of gold;

go settle upon the slopes and the hills,

where, soft and mild, the sweet airs

of our native land smell fragrant!

Greet the banks of the Jordan

and Zion’s toppled towers…

Oh, my country so lovely and lost!

Oh, remembrance so dear and so fraught with despair!

Golden harp of the prophetic seers,

why dost thou hang mute upon the willow?

Rekindle our bosom’s memories,

and speak of times gone by!

Mindful of the fate of Jerusalem,

either give forth an air of sad lamentation,

or else let the Lord imbue us

with fortitude to bear our sufferings!