Tracks

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Track

Time

Day of God 05:35
Aleinu 01:58
Adonai adonai 02:16
The Lord Will Give His Angels 00:59
Ki lo taḥpotz 02:51
Kamma ya'avrun 02:20
Ki vayom hazze 01:35
 

Liner Notes

Several of Schlessinger's settings are based on pre-existing music. Examples included here are “Day of God,” an adaptation of the traditional kol nidrei melody to an unrelated English replacement text translated liberally from its German model; S’u sh’arim, for which Schlesinger used an excerpt of an a cappella Roman Catholic Mass setting (Messe in C) by Charles Gounod; Adonai, adonai, an appropriation for Festivals and High Holy Days of an operatic aria by Meyerbeer; and Ki vayom haze, a pronouncement from the Yom Kippur liturgy set to one of the most familiar Italian operatic arias, “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore (The Elixer of Love).

“The Lord Will Give His Angels” is a text for the conclusion of Yom Kippur that appeared in the initial edition of the Union Prayerbook and was retained in its subsequent editions. Alenu [alenu l’shabe’a la’adon hakol], sometimes known as the “Great Alenu”—the text that precedes and introduces the t’ki’atot section of the traditional Rosh Hashana mussaf service, and also occurs on Yom Kippur (without the t’ki’atot)—is an overly stylized setting of the missinai tune for that function. It is one of Schlesinger’s very few nods to minhag Ashkenaz, but his harmonization gives it an excessively bombastic character rather than preserving its more appropriate stately mood. His setting of kama ya’avrun is an excerpt of the High Holy Day text b’rosh hashana, which in turn is the third section of a piyyut, une tana tokef. It was eliminated on ideological grounds from the Union Prayerbook, but Schlesinger took it from a revised edition (1891) of Merzbacher’s prayerbook. It seems strange as a part of Classical Reform, which understandably rejected (as did subsequent Reform phases) its pronouncements and convictions. In any case, this setting appears at odds with the poem’s theological content, whose mood is bypassed and whose dire, vivid, and frightening references to the consequences of Divine judgment are hardly expressed by the music.


 

Lyrics

DAY OF GOD
Sung in English
Words: Union Prayer Book 1895

Day of God, Day of God, O come, O come! Fill our hearts with peace and gladness. Lord! God! See, see thou our hearts contrition and bow thine ear. Hear, O hear the voice of our petition. Banish our fear! Blot out our evil ways, open the door of grace, bid us enter there.

ALEINU (FOR ROSH HASHANAH AND YOM KIPPUR)
Sung in Hebrew
Words: Liturgy

It is our duty to render praise and thanksgiving unto the Creator of heaven and earth, who delivered us from the darkness of false belief and sent to us the light of His truth. He is our God, there is none besides.

We bow the head and bend the knees before the Ruler of the universe, and bless His holy name!

ADONAI ADONAI
Sung in Hebrew
Words: Liturgy

[And the Lord revealed Himself to him, and proclaimed]: "The Lord! the Lord! Omnipotent, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; Keeping mercy unto thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin."

THE LORD WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS
Sung in English
Words: Union Prayer Book 1895

The Lord will give his Angels charge over thee, to guard thee on all thy ways.
The Lord will bless thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, even forever, Amen.

KI LO TAḤPOTZ
Sung in Hebrew
Words: High Hoy Day liturgy

Thou desirest not that sinful man should die, but that he should repent and make himself worthy to live. Even unto the day of his death, thou waitest for him: if he retumeth, at once thou receivest him in mercy.

It is true thou art the framer of all, and thou knowest their frame, even that they are flesh and blood. What is man? His origin dust, his end dust; and while he lives, he imperils his life for his daily bread. He is like an earthen vessel, it must break; a blade of grass, it must wither; a flower, it must decay; a shadow, it must vanish; a cloud, it must break away; a breath of wind, it will melt in air; a mote which flieth away, a dream which is no more.

But Thou, God of the Universe, Art ever the same-Ever Living, Never Changing!

KAMMA YA'AVRUN
Sung in Hebrew
Words: High Holy Day liturgy

How many are to pass by, and how many are to have existence; who are to live, and who are to die; who are to accomplish the full number of their days, and who are not to accomplish them; who are to perish by water, and who by fire; who by the sword, and who by hunger; who by an earthquake, and who by the plague; who shall have repose, and who shall be troubled; who shall be tranquil, and who shall be disturbed; who shall be prosperous, and who shall be afflicted; who are to become poor, and who are to become rich; who are to be cast down, and who are to be exalted? But Penitence, Prayer, and Charity may avert the stem decree.

KI VAYOM HAZEH
Sung in Hebrew
Words: Yom Kippur liturgy

On this day ye shall be forgiven and cleansed from all your sins; before God shall ye be pure.


 

Credits

Composer: Sigmund Schlesinger

Length: 17:34
Genre: Liturgical

Performers: Barbara Harbach, Organ;  Michael Isaacson, Conductor;  Rochester Singers;  Richard Botton, Cantor

Date Recorded: 05/01/1991
Venue: Kilbourn Hall/Eastman School of Music (M), University of Rochester, New York
Engineer: David Dusman, Shane McMartin
Assistant Engineer: Isaacson, Michael
Project Manager: Isaacson, Michael

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