Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ocho Kandelikas (Eight Candles)...

...Ladino Song for Chanukah by Flory Jagoda
arranged by Joshua Jacobson
Performed by the Singing Sergeants (U.S. Air Force)
Click on this link for an audio recording, then click the "play" button:

This song relives the memories of Flory Jagoda, born in 1925 in Sarajevo, Bosnia as her family celebrated the eight-day Jewish Holiday Chanukah, known as the “Festival of Lights;” each night another candle of the eight-branched Menorah is lit. Flory learned the songs her grandmother sang as a member of the Jewish Sephardic community, a group exiled from Spain in the15th Century. The language of this exiled Sephardim people was Ladino or Judeo-Español, which is a form of Medieval Spanish; Ladino is in serious danger of extinction but it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. Flory Jagoda is a leader in this revival.
During WW II she lost 42 members of her family to the Holocaust. She and her surviving relatives were imprisoned on the island of Korcula (modern day Croatia). They escaped to Italy where she met “the most handsome [U.S. Army] master sergeant.” They married in 1945, moved to the United States and settled in Falls Church, Virginia to raise their children.
Among her many awards in preserving her Sephardic songs for future generations, she received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002.
Another recording:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Aleih Neiri (Rise Up, My Light)

Chaim Parchi/arr. Joshua Jacobson

Born in Yemen (b. 1947), Chaim Parchi is a composer, choreographer, teacher and performer (baritone). In 1979, Parchi brought his family to the Boston, Massachusetts area to continue graduate studies at Boston University. He relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, in 1995 to teach music and art at Broward Jewish High School, B'nai Torah High School and Hillel Community Day School. He has been strongly influenced by family artisans, a love for Israel, and the history of the Jewish people. His music and art are a reflection of his deep passion for Judaism.
Joshua Jacobson (arranger) is Chairman of the Department of Music at Northeastern University and director of the university's choral program. He is also founder and director of the Zamir Chorale of Boston. Professor Jacobson is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Jewish choral music.

A Musicological Journey...

...Through the Twelve Days of Christmas
Craig Courtney takes the 'The 12 Days of Christmas' through a classical musical history lesson, enhancing it with Renaissance, Baroque and 19th-century motifs from compositions you’ll recognize.
Click on the following link for an audio recording of this popular tongue-in-cheek Christmas standard:

Experience an audience reaction with this video of Lewis & Clark college choir's performance:

Handel's MESSIAH - Part I

The centerpiece of our December 5 concert will be Part I of Handel's Messiah. We will perform a slightly abridged version to correspond to the portions we will perform at the Kennedy Center on December 23. In addition to recitatives and arias sung by soloists, we will perform four choruses from Part I plus the Hallelujah Chorus from Part II.

Again, Cyber Bass has teaching aids at:
Click on the above web link and scroll down until you see your part.


Video learning aids:

And the glory of the Lord

O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
note: choir entrance at 3:45

For unto us a child is born

Glory to God

His yoke is easy, and his burthen is light

Hallelujah (Part II)

Audio rehearsal aid (your part sung with text):
click on this link


On December 23 at the Kennedy Center, we will sing these additional six choruses:

Behold the Lamb of God (Part II)

Surely he hath borne our griefs (Part II)

And with his stripes we are healed (Part II)

All we like sheep have gone astray (Part II)

Since by man came death (Part III)

Worthy is the Lamb; Amen (Part III)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace (Karl Jenkins)

The centerpiece of our concert is Welsh composer Karl Jenkins's The Armed Man. Although he uses the subtitle "A Mass for Peace," this composition is not a mass in the traditional sense. While it contains a Kyrie (Greek text) and three Latin language mass movements (Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Benedictus), it also has a Muslim call to prayer, a 15th-century French folk song that serves as bookends in the first and last movements, biblical Psalm texts, English texts by Rudyard Kipling, Malory, John Dryden and Jonathan Swift, a text by a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing -- plus quotes from the Koran and the Hindu Mahàbharàta. It is basically an anti-war piece, reiterating man's proclivity for war and the devastating impact that armed conflict has on society and the world at large.

Commissioned for Britain's Millennium year observance, it had its world première in April 2000 at London's Royal Albert Hall. For American audiences and performers, there is a poignancy in the fact that the commercial recording was released on September 10, 2001 - the very day before the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

The following video links are of a performance conducted by the composer.
The page numbers refer to the page in the complete vocal score.
Timings are in minutes:seconds in instances in which there is a long orchestral introduction.

1. The Armed Man (Page 1)
The piece begins with a representation of marching feet, overlaid later by the shrill tones of a piccolo, emulating a military marching band. It stirs images of war being glorious. The fifteenth century French folk song “L'homme armé” (The Armed Man) appears in both the first and last movements. In the first movement, it is in the key of G-minor. In the last movement, the key alternates between G-minor and G-major.

loh-meh,  loh-meh,  loh-mahr-may (phonetic approximation)
L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé,
The man, the man, the armed man,

loh-mahr-may,  loh-mahr-may  dwah  tahw  doo-tay, dwah  tahw  doo-tay
L'homme armé, l'homme armé doit on doubter, doit on doubter.
The armed man, the armed man should be feared, should be feared.

ahw  nah  fay  pahr-too  cree-ay
On a fait partout crier,
Everywhere it has been proclaimed

kuh  sheh-kuh  suh  veeay  nahr-may  duh  oh–breh-gahwn  duh  fair
Que chacun se viegne armer d'un haubregon de fer.
That each man shall arm himself with a coat of iron mail.

2. Muslim Call to Prayer

This call to prayer provides the chilling, sobering crux of this piece -- that religious intolerance sows the seeds for world conflict. Notice the irony that the transliteration of the Arabic text (on page 15) forms a Christian cross shape.

Allah is the greatest.
I testify that there is no god but Allah.
I testify that Muhammad is Allah's messenger.
Allah is the greatest.
There is no god but Allah.

3. Kyrie – vocal entrance at 1:52 (Page 16)
Sung in ancient Greek. This movement manages both to quote Palestrina and incorporate Brazilian drum rhythms into the musical fabric.

Kee-dee-eh  eh-leh-zawn
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy.

Kree-steh  eh-leh-zawn
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy.

Kee-dee-eh  eh-leh-zawn
Kyrie eleison.

Lord, have mercy.

4. Save Me from Bloody Men (Page 28)

Text from Psalm 59

5. Sanctus (Page 30)
Sung in Latin. The is the only instance I know of in which the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabbath...) is set to a march with snare drum.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Holy, holy, holy.

Daw-mee-noos   deh-oos  sah-bah-oht.
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Lord God of Sabbath.

Pleh-nee  soont  cheh-lee   eht  teh-rah  glaw-ree-ah
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Aw-sah-nah  een  ehk-shehl-seess
Hosanna in excelsis.
Hosanna in the highest.

6. Hymn before action (Page 44)
Note: on pg. 46 (bottom line), "froward" is not a typo. It means "obstinate" or "contrary."

7. Charge! (Page 49)!?autostart

8. Angry Flames (Page 69)
Solos for soprano, alto, tenor & bass (as marked in score, beginning on page 69; note which measures are "tutti" and which are solos)

9. Torches (Page 73)

10. Agnus Dei (Page 78)

11. Now the Guns Have Stopped
Solo for mezzo-soprano or alto (entire movement)

12. Benedictus (choir enters at 3:50)

13. Better Is Peace

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dona Nobis Pacem - Vaughan Williams

All four vocal parts - SATB - divide in this work.
The CyberBass web site has each part highlighted on the sound track (the other parts are softer, in the background). Click on the following link and scroll down until you see your part.

In addition, there are audio links of complete recordings of this work. Once you have learned your vocal part using Cyber Bass, try singing along to these tracks:

Mvt. I
Agnus Dei

Soprano 1 solo opportunity: "Agnus Dei" from Page 1, 3rd measure (throughout movement)

Mvt. III – page 21
Baritone solo opportunity: from page 21, measure 10 through square 11; page 25
Soprano solo opportunity: top of page 28

Mvt. VI – page 52 (3rd system)
O Man Greatly Beloved
& Nation Shall Not Rise Up against Nation
Baritone solo opportunity: bottom of page 52