Unique among liturgies in their singular blend of majestic grandeur, lofty sentiments, and poignant simplicity, the Psalms embrace virtually every basic human emotion and mood, always in the context of faith.
This album reflects the varied responses of twelve 20th- and 21st-century composers to some of the most affecting and enduring of all biblical texts—the Psalms.
Common to the liturgies, histories, and spirit of both Judaism and Christianity, the biblical Book of Psalms is one of the most widely familiar and most frequently quoted books of the Hebrew Bible. The Psalms' sentiments and teachings, expressed in a singular blend of majestic grandeur and poignant simplicity, give them a uniquely universal resonance. Encompassing virtually every human emotion and mood from exaltation to alienation, hope to despair, these texts have inspired musical interpretation since Jewish antiquity, with notated musical settings dating backRead more more than ten centuries.
Composers of virtually every orientation have engaged the Psalms in compositions ranging from large-scale works for chorus, full orchestra, and soloists to intimate a cappella choral pieces. The original settings heard on this new CD, by both traditionally-minded and avant-garde composers, exemplify the variety of musical treatments and expressions the Psalms have inspired.
Participating artists heard on "Psalms of Joy and Sorrow" include actor Theodore Bikel, cantors Alberto Mizrahi, Charles Osborne and Meir Finkelstein; the BBC Singers, Laudibus Choir, Schola Hebraeica, Barcelona Symphony/National Orchestra of Catalonia and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; and conductors Samuel Adler, Michael Brewer, Ronald Corp, Patrick Gardner, Steven Gunzenhauser, Avner Itai, Elli Jaffe, Neil Levin and Karl Anton Rickenbacher.
"Dispersed over the centuries to all corners of the earth, the Jewish people absorbed elements of its host cultures while, miraculously, maintaining its own. As many Jews reconnected in America, escaping persecution and seeking to take part in a visionary democratic society, their experiences found voice in their music. The sacred and secular body of work that has developed over the three centuries since Jews first arrived on these shores provides a powerful means of expressing the multilayered saga of American Jewry.
While much of this music had become a vital force in American and world culture, even more music
of specifically Jewish content had been created, perhaps performed, and then lost to current and future generations. Believing that there was a unique opportunity to rediscover, preserve and transmit the collective memory contained within this music, I founded the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music in 1990.
The passionate collaboration of many distinguished artists, ensembles and recording producers over the past fourteen years has created a vast repository of musical resources to educate, entertain and inspire people of all faiths and cultures. The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music is a living project; one that we hope will cultivate and nourish musicians and enthusiasts of this richly varied musical repertoire." - Lowell Milken
“In the Torah and the [books of the] Prophets, God reaches out to man. The initiative is His. The message is His. He communicates, we receive.... In the Psalms, human beings reach out to God. The initiative is human. The language is human. We make an effort to communicate. He receives.... The human soul extends itself beyond its confining, sheltering, impermanent house of clay. It gropes for an experience of the divine Presence.” - Nahum Sarna
Gideon - Mamlok - Rochberg - Shapey - Waxman - Wyner - Zilberts - Psalms Of Joy And Sorrow
(256 kbps, cover art included)