Shem Ru’ahh for clarinet solo



Shem Ru’ahh for clarinet solo by David W Solomons

The significance of the title relates to the fact that the clarinet is a wind instrument of great importance in Jewish culture, and the music reflects a somewhat Westernised view of this culture.
The word “שם” (shem) is often translated as “name”, although it is not as abstract as the modern meaning of the word “name” because it also holds the underlying meaning of the name – for example one might call a person “Adam” and think of it as an abstract sequence of letters, which just happens to be a name, but the underlying meaning, or “shem”, is that the first Adam was so called because he came from out of the ground (“adamah”).

The word “רוח” (ru’ahh) means wind, but is often translated as “spirit”. The modern meaning of “spirit” evokes something incorporeal, but the word ru’ahh represents the very essence of what you are or what God is. In the case of God, it is a mighty rushing wind which fills the world and is everywhere.

The significance of the title is therefore: The “name is the spirit” or rather, more literally, “the significance is the wind”.