Jewish choral music: A conductor's guide to Bloch's "Avodath Hakodesh", Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" and other works

by Nash, Ethan Daniel, D.M.A., UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD, 2007, 275 pages; 3256070


Geared primarily towards the choral conductor, this is a comprehensive guide to two major Jewish choral works, Ernest Bloch's Avodath Hakodesh and Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. As both works are sung in Hebrew, this book begins with an overview of the Hebrew language, followed by an introduction to the complex issue of Hebrew pronunciation. Included are both a simple guide to the pronunciation of Hebrew, as well as a more extensive discussion of important issues for conductors such as regional and archaic pronunciations of Hebrew, the pronunciation of specific sounds and the sensitivities involved in the singing of God's name. A basic overview of the Reform Sabbath liturgy is provided as well, specifically as it pertains to Bloch's Avodath Hakodesh.

With this background information having been presented, each of the two major works is discussed in detail; topics include the historical background of each piece as well as an overview of the musical analysis. Significant attention is given to the performance practice of each piece, specifically dealing with issues of the Hebrew pronunciation; pronunciation guides with literal and poetic translations are provided for both conductors (including transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)) and for singers.

Finally, conductors are presented with resources that can help them in performing other Jewish choral works. These include extensive repertoire lists categorized both by composer and by category, pronunciation guides for several additional sacred Hebrew texts as well as a list of important websites and publishers.

AdviserEdward Bolkovac
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsLinguistics; Music; Judaic studies
Publication Number3256070

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