Lazar Weiner’s Ashrei ha’ish (Happy Is the Man) is a setting of Psalm 1 for tenor solo, mixed chorus, and organ. (For a discussion of the Psalms and their role in music, see the introduction to this volume; with reference to Psalm 1, see the note to the setting by Ursula Mamlok later in this volume). Its pervading mood of resolute reflection is established from the opening pianissimo passage, with the altos and basses responding to the sopranos and tenors against slowly pulsating chords in the accompaniment. There are turns to modalities other than major-minor, and an overall starkness is achieved by close choral textures. The piece was awarded the Jacob Weinberg Synagogue Composition Prize in 1956 by the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion.
Sung in Hebrew
Happy is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, or taken the path of sinners, or joined the company of the insolent; rather, the teaching of the Lord is his delight, and he studies that teaching day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose foliage never fades, and whatever it produces thrives.
Not so the wicked; rather, they are like chaff that wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners, in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord cherishes the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.
Performers: BBC Singers; Meir Finkelstein, Cantor; Avner Itai, Conductor; Spectrum
Translation: JPS Tanakh
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