This week on Going Beyond Words and ACDA Radio/ChoralNet, host Stan Schmidt invites you to take time to pause and remember those members of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh who were killed while attending worship in their synagogue.
The sacred side of the classical repertory does not offer a great deal that speaks directly to Jewish listeners. Several of Handel’s oratorios fit the bill, given his strong use of the books of the Hebrew Bible, and Brahm’s “German Requiem” is appealingly ecumenical.
However, Ernest Bloch composed his “Avodath Hakodesh” (“Sacred Service”) for a reform congregation in San Francisco in the 1930s but he scored it ambitiously, for a large chorus, soloists and orchestra. This work has served as a model for many composers aspiring to elevate the language and flow of a synagogue service to the realm of high art, and it remains a true work of genius.
On this broadcast you will hear two pieces that fit together beautifully. First is the song “How Long Wilt Thou Forget Me, O Lord?” by Ned Rorem, sung by the Gloriae Dei Cantores with Elizabeth C. Patterson on the podium. Also dedicated to those who lost their lives in Pittsburgh, you can examine Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service. Please set your personal thoughts aside as you listen to Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh. It contains five movements and is performed by Thomas Hampson, baritone, with Raphael Frieder, narrator. You will hear the voices of the Collegiate Chorale prepared by Robert Bass, plus the astounding sound of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, all controlled by Zubin Mehta. This performance was recorded live in Jerusalem in 2008.
For a look at the CDs used and a complete list of the music heard, go to the blog of WWW.GOINGBEYONDWORDS.COM website and click on show 2505.