Josef tal on the cusp of Israeli statehood, or, the simultaneity of adjacency and oppositionality

Assaf Shelleg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Discussing Josef Tal's works during the transition into Israeli statehood, the article uncovers the ways the art music in Palestine/Israel duplicated the Zionist allegory and conditioned the studies that followed them. While it was fairly easy to "etherize" Tal's penchant for post-tonal designs and nonrepresentational aesthetic in a cultural constellation that prioritized the (euphonic) immediacy of national signifies, his works embody both the internalization of national constructs and their destabilization. Contextualizing this simultaneity is the wider discussion of the gap between national rhetoric and the manufacturing of cultural hybrids, as well as the historiographical paradigms that have shaped the field of art music in Israel. With these key variables in mind Tal's music can be reconsidered alongside the disillusionment with romanticist Zionism in modern Hebrew poetry already during the interregnum of statehood and in the way political dates have punctuated a cultural history that precedes and traverses 1948.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)146-167
Number of pages22
JournalActa Musicologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Musicological Society (IMS)


  • Israel
  • Jewish music
  • Josef Tal
  • Musical exoticism
  • Post-tonal music


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