Samuel Adler’s To Celebrate a Miracle, for large wind ensemble, or wind orchestra, incorporates the melodies of nine of the most popular and best-known Hanukka-related songs and hymns (seven secular and two liturgical), creatively developing their constituent motives and phrases and judiciously exploiting the various timbres and technical possibilities of the individual instruments. The number nine here was intended by the composer to represent the nine candles or lights in the Hanukka m’nora (candelabrum) on the last night of the festival. All but one—Y’mei ha’hanukka—are incorporated in Adler’s choral work The Flames of Freedom.
Y’mei ha’hanukka was a 19th-century eastern European Yiddish folk tune to which Abraham Abrunin [Evronin] provided Hebrew lyrics. Apparently it was known earlier as a folksong about the Festival of Sukkot. It was also sung in eastern Europe as a Hanukka song, Hanukka, oy hanukka, a yom tov a sheyner, to a poem by Mordkhe Rivesman (1868–1924). That version remains popular among Yiddish cultural circles. During the first half of the 20th century, various English adaptations were circulated in America as well, especially for children.
Performers: University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony; Rodney Winther, Conductor
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