In the 16th Century CE Rabbi Judah Loew was said to have created a powerful Golem to defend Prague’s Jewish ghetto.
Although I composed this segment of score for the scene in Paul Wegener’s 1920 prequel to his silent Golem series in the summer of 2002, I only recorded it during the last weekend of October.
I played all the brass and woodwinds myself, including the oboe solo near the beginning and the gong, all in my small Hollywood apartment.
In this scene, Rabbi Loew summons the Sumerian demon Astaroth to learn the word that will bring the Golem to life—rendered in the most arcane transliteration from Hebrew that I have ever seen, the word is “Aemath” meaning ‘emet’ (Hebrew)’ or ‘truth.’ I had imagined Rabbi Loew reciting the Shema to hold the ancient demon at bay.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by Der Golem, the great Jewish monster of clay who only comes to life when Truth is in his breast (or on his tongue, in the original text).
Whether it is the silent film or the Hammer horror version or even Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” (which, incidentally, had its premier in Prague), the living statue has always terrified and thrilled me.
It is my pleasure to share a little piece of that with our audience at JewishJournal.com.