I left the house on a Monday morning full of curiosity, excitement and a little anxiety, on my way to meet Loretta Kay-Feld. I knew she was born, lived and educated in London, where she met her American husband. They raised their four children in New York, during which time Loretta travelled to and from the UK to give concerts. They made aliyah about ten years ago, first to Ramat Aviv, where Loretta found the Tel Aviv University Music Academy a welcoming second home, and then to Raanana.
The list of her musical accomplishments ran through my head on the drive to Raanana: a patriotic song "Gonna Keep America Singing," which Trump requested to be played at his inauguration, hundreds of children's songs, including songs for Sesame Street, compositions for choirs, A "Symphony of Synchronicity", which accompanies the photographic life of Uri Geller at his new museum, and her inspiring "Earth of Ours", which will be incorporated in a Disney production. She even has an animated movie in the making, based on her Australian children's book Kangamole The Legend. More than impressive! And now, Loretta Kay-Feld, our own Israeli olah, has been commissioned to prepare a tribute for the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.
With this background check utmost in my mind, I sat down across a small table from Loretta and discovered a joyful, energetic, enthusiastic, warm and open woman.
Since I also come from music, my first question to Loretta was how she composed. I discovered that she is what I would call "an intuitive composer," the music and lyrics coming to her "never when sitting at the piano." She also says that she often composes while swimming underwater (which she does twice weekly at the Raanana Country Club). She has lots of stories of sudden muses, including one where she had a sudden inspiration in the middle of shopping at a butcher shop. She told the butcher to put her order in the refrigerator until she came back to finish the order, got in her car and raced home to get the muse on the computer.
I immediately reacted jealously, demanding to know how she knew how to put her compositions onto the computer. I was so impressed when she told me that she sat alone for three months, with a book of instructions, and taught herself how to use a complex computer program for her digital piano, on which she composes and records.
Loretta received a special request to compose musical tributes for Her Majesty to celebrate her forthcoming Platinum Jubilee. She says "These musical/video tributes reflect the 70 years Queen Elizabeth has served her people with dignity, diligence and grace and will be shown globally in celebration of Her Majesty's forthcoming Platinum Jubilee. This has been a great honor for me to compose."
The tribute has two parts: an instrumental tribute and a vocal tribute called "The Queen's Soliloquy", sung by the Israeli soprano, Shlomit Kovalsky. In this emotional piece, Loretta presents the trials of the Queen from the time she came to the throne at the age of 25, when she was completely unprepared for it, through the many trials of her 70 years as Queen.
A celebratory, official press event will preview the tributes on February 6th at the Uri Geller Museum. A link will be available after the event. Loretta is hopeful that this Israeli production will help strengthen Israeli-British relations.
Just as an aside, Loretta and Uri Geller have been dear friends for over 30 years. Their friendship began when they were living in the same apartment building in Britain, and Loretta mischievously asked Uri for his help because all of her spoons had come out of the dishwasher bent.
Aside from the Queen's tribute, Loretta has written a musical Upstairs, Downstairs, 1897. It is "a magnificent musical with (a) quasi-operatic score and scintillating script and lyrics and choreography", for which she thanks her daughter, Dorothy Eisdorfer, "a superb choreographer who never fails to encourage me in all the projects I am involved with."
Loretta's goal is to raise funds in order to film the production for global presentation, to benefit the Israeli performers and technicians who have suffered from the pandemic.
Loretta is impressive not only in her prolific musical success (did I mention she has also written many children's books?) but in her never-ending aspiration to make the world a better place through music. She is a true inspiration.
See the Queen's Soliloquy in the following clip