Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leonard Bernstein - Chichester Psalms

Soloist from the Vienna Boys' Choir
Wiener Jeunesse-Chor
Israel Philarmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstei

It seems kind of unfair that they don't name the soloist, as far as I'm concerned, his solo makes the piece.   And the harpists, as well.  

Just in case anyone was wondering what I was talking about in another post on Monday, here it is.  I think the second movement is probably the one most recognizable to the people who are aware of any of the piece.  It does just slip in under the fifty-year mark, this July is the anniversary of its first performance.  Leonard Berstein was notorious for being really self indulgent with other peoples' music but he has to be considered the authoritative interpreter of his own music.  And it is a pretty good performance of one of his best pieces.  

Here's the text from a website. 

Part I

Psalm 108, verse 2 (Maestoso ma energico)
Urah, hanevel, v'chinor!           Awake, psaltery and harp!
A-irah shahar!                     I will rouse the dawn!  

Psalm 100 (Allegro molto)
Hariu l'Adonai kol haarets.        Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands.
Iv'du et Adonai b'simha.           Serve the Lord with gladness.
Bo-u l'fanav bir'nanah.            Come before his presence with singing.
D'u ki Adonai Hu Elohim.           Know ye that the Lord, He is God.
Hu asanu, v'lo anahnu.             It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves
Amo v'tson mar'ito.                We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Bo-u sh'arav b'todah,              Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
Hatseirotav bit'hilah,             And into His courts with praise.
Hodu lo, bar'chu sh'mo.            Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
Ki tov Adonai, l'olam has'do,      For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting.
V'ad dor vador emunato.            And His truth endureth to all generations.

Part II

Psalm 23 (Andante con moto, ma tranquillo)
Adonai ro-i, lo ehsar.             The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Bin'ot deshe yarbitseini,          He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,
Al mei m'nuhot y'nahaleini,        He leadeth me beside the still waters,
Naf'shi y'shovev,                  He restoreth my soul,
Yan'heini b'ma'aglei tsedek,       He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness,
L'ma'an sh'mo.                     For His name's sake.
Gam ki eilech                      Yea, though I walk
B'gei tsalmavet,                   Through the valley of the shadow of death,
Lo ira ra,                         I will fear no evil,
Ki Atah imadi.                     For Thou art with me.
Shiv't'cha umishan'techa           Thy rod and Thy staff
Hemah y'nahamuni.                  They comfort me.

Psalm 2, verses 1-4 (Allegro feroce)
Lamah rag'shu goyim                Why do the nations rage,
Ul'umim yeh'gu rik?                And the people imagine a vain thing?
Yit'yats'vu malchei erets,         The kings of the earth set themselves up,
V'roznim nos'du yahad              And the rulers take counsel together
Al Adonai v'al m'shiho.            Against the Lord and against His anointed.
N'natkah et mos'roteimo,           Saying, let us break their bonds asunder,
Yoshev bashamayim                  He that sitteth in the heavens
Yis'hak, Adonai                    Shall laugh, and the Lord
Yil'ag lamo!                       Shall have them in derision!

Psalm 23, continued (Meno come prima)
Ta'aroch l'fanai shulchan          Thou preparest a table before me
Neged tsor'rai                     In the presence of mine enemies,
Dishanta vashemen roshi            Thou anointest my head with oil,
Cosi r'vayah.                      My cup runneth over.
Ach tov vahesed                    Surely goodness and mercy
Yird'funi kol y'mei hayai          Shall follow me all the days of my life,
V'shav'ti b'veit Adonai            And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
L'orech yamim.                     Forever.

Part III

Psalm 131 (Peacefully flowing)
Adonai, Adonai,                    Lord, Lord,
Lo gavah libi,                     My heart is not haughty,
V'lo ramu einai,                   Nor mine eyes lofty,
V'lo hilachti                      Neither do I exercise myself
Big'dolot uv'niflaot               In great matters or in things
Mimeni.                            Too wonderful for me.
Im lo shiviti                      Surely I have calmed
V'domam'ti,                        And quieted myself,
Naf'shi k'gamul alei imo,          As a child that is weaned of his mother,
Kagamul alai naf'shi.              My soul is even as a weaned child.

Yahel Yis'rael el Adonai           Let Israel hope in the Lord
Me'atah v'ad olam.                 From henceforth and forever.

Psalm 133, verse 1
Hineh mah tov,                     Behold how good,
Umah nayim,                        And how pleasant it is,
Shevet ahim                        For brethren to dwell

Gam yahad.                         Together in unity.

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