Old Jerusalem 04:44

Liner Notes

Adarim and Old Jerusalem are two of Chajes’s most beloved songs. Both reflect typical, admittedly romanticized perceptions of the aura and spirit of Jewish Palestine from early aliya (immigration) periods until statehood, and even afterward. Both songs were standard repertoire at Jewish concerts throughout America during that time frame, and were among the most conspicuous representations of modern “Jewish music”—especially in relation to Israel—on general concert programs. Both reflect the kind of aural exoticism that used to be attached to images of the region. Both songs exploit elements and clichés of the Arabic hijaz mode, with its characteristic lowered seventh degree and augmented second interval; and both expressions alternate stately, lyrical, and contemplative sentiments with sparkling dance figures.

Old Jerusalem is a setting of Psalm 134 to Chajes’s original melody, to which he gave the flavor of a Palestinian folksong. The structure is basically A–B–A, where the B section interrupts the preceding flowing reverential statement with sharply defined staccato rhythmic impulses that reflect rejoicing at the opportunity to worship and praise God, as the Psalm suggests, in Jerusalem—and to be blessed by God “out of Zion.”

By: Neil W. Levin



Sung in Hebrew 


Now bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who stand nightly in the house of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward the sanctuary and bless the Lord.
May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.



Composer: Julius Chajes

Length: 04:44
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Barcelona Symphony-National Orchestra of CataloniaElli Jaffe, Conductor;  Ana María Martínez, Soprano

Date Recorded: 06/01/2001
Venue: Sala Sinfonica del Auditori (B), Barcelona, Spain
Engineer: Kornacher, Bertram
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

Publisher: Transcontinental
Translation: JPS Tanakh 1999


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