|▼||Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh)||36:00|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part I: Meditation (Prelude); Ma tovu||05:08|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part I: Bar'khu; Sh'ma yisra'el||01:23|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part I: Vahavta||02:12|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part I: Mi khamokha||01:50|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part I: Tzur yisra'el||01:43|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part II: N'kadesh; Kadosh Kadosh; Adir adirenu; Ehad hu elohenu; Yimlokh adonay l'olam||05:13|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part III: Silent Devotion (Prelude) and Response; Yih'yu l'ratzon; S'u sh'arim||04:52|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part III: Taking the Scroll(s) from the Ark (Interlude); Torah tziva; Sh’ma yisra’el; L’kha adonai||04:21|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part IV: Return of the Scroll(s) to the Ark; Gad’lu adonai; hodo al eretz; Torat adonai||03:39|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part IV: Etz hayyim hi||03:58|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part V: Va'anahnu||05:55|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part V: Kaddish; Tzur yisra'el||10:00|
|Sacred Service (Avodat Hakodesh) Part V: Y'varekh'kha adonai||02:09|
|Part 1. Allegro – Verses 1-4 – Interlude 1 – Verse 1 – Interlude 2||03:33|
|Part 2. Moderato – Verses 2-4 – Interlude 3 – Verses 5-8||05:52|
|Part 3. Allegro – Verses 9-10 – Interlude 4 – Allegro furioso||07:13|
|Part 4 Verse 11||01:19|
|Part 5 Verse 11b||00:52|
|Part 6 Verses 12, 13a – Interlude 5 – Allegro non troppo||03:09|
|Part 7 Verse 13b - Postlude||03:32|
While the collective repertoire of American Jewish sacred music contains dozens of synagogue services composed for large orchestral and choral forces, probably none are considered as important as Ernest Bloch’s Avodat Hakodesh. Commissioned by San Francisco’s Temple Emanu-El (which later commissioned a sacred service from Darius Milhaud), under the direction of Cantor Rueben Rinder, Bloch’s service is widely considered to be the first successful and most enduring exploration of the Hebrew liturgy for serious artistic purposes. It took Bloch approximately five years to complete and inspired a deep engagement with the liturgical text. Fully aware of its Jewish intention but also cognizant of its universal appeal, Bloch once referred to it as “a gift of Israel to the whole of mankind.”
If it weren’t enough that Avodat Hakodesh was composed by Bloch, heralded by many as history’s greatest Jewish composer, the present recording of the work features two of the 20th century’s most revered musicians: Leonard Bernstein and Robert Merrill (of Metropolitan Opera fame). The legendary 1960 recording is considered a watershed event and amongst the most important in the collective repertoire.
Also featured on this album is Stefan Wolpe’s Yigdal Cantata, a moving, if slightly severe, setting of the medieval hymn of faith known as yigdal [elohim ḥai] (We exalt the presence of the living God) and based on Moses Maimonides’ thirteen principles of faith—familiar to synagogue-oriented American Jewry from its role as an optional concluding hymn following Sabbath and holyday evening and/or mussaf services. One of many pieces commissioned by Cantor David Putterman (cantor of New York’s Park Avenue Synagogue from 1933 to 1976), it was premiered at that congregation’s third annual service of new music on a Sabbath eve in 1945 and was later adapted as a cantata for concert performance.
Both the Bloch and Wolpe are key components of Volume 7, Masterworks of Prayer: Art in Worship, which contains liturgical masterpieces by the likes of David Diamond, Arnold Schoenberg, Yehudi Wyner, Darius Milhaud, and others.
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