On this broadcast of Going Beyond Words and ACDA Radio, host Stan Schmidt invites you to be part of a very special edition. You will hear the oratorio Women of Valor based on important Jewish women of the Old Testament. The composer is Andrea Clearfield. It is scored for two soprano soloists, narrator, and orchestra.
Featured artists are Rinat Shaham, mezzo; Hila Plitmann, soprano; and actress Tovah Feldshuh, narrator. The instrumentalists make up the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony which, says the Los Angeles Times, is different from all other orchestras. It is the only symphony orchestra in America dedicated to music reflective of the Jewish experience. Their conductor is Dr. Noreen Green, who formed the orchestra in 1994.
The composer and conductor met each other while doing their doctoral work at Temple University in Philadelphia. The premiere was in 2000 and what you will hear on this occasion was recorded in 2016 and released on Albany Records in 2017. The biblical texts include portions of Genesis, Judges, and the Book of Esther, as well as the entire poem A Woman of Valor. The composition is sung and narrated mostly in English but includes Hebrew and Yiddish. The work is divided into three sections and highlights the stories of Sarah, Leah, Rachel, Jocheved, Miriam, Hannah, Jael, Michal, Ruth, and Esther. The Poem mentioned above furnishes the text for the Recitatives; The arias tell the stories of these ten Biblical women from the perspectives of ten contemporary women writers. The musicianship of all participants is poignant, thrilling, and exceptional, bringing a new and clearer understanding to the Jewish experience.
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 2402 to get information about a choral adaptation just recently completed by the composer.