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Oseh Shalom was commissioned by Temple Sholom, Greenwich, CT for Cantor Asa
Fradkin and Sasson: The Temple Sholom Teen Choir, in celebration of its centennial.  I
had never written a choral setting of this very familiar text, and delighted in having the
opportunity for Cantor Fradkin, this dedicated teen choir, and this occasion. In this
setting, I chose to expand upon the traditional Hebrew text, making it both more
personal and more universal: where the original text asks for peace “for us and for all
Yisrael,” the text here speaks of peace “within myself, for us and for all Yisrael, and all
who dwell on earth, and all of the world/universe.” The simple, but wide-ranging
melody is first heard in Hebrew in the solo voice, then in the full choir, before the choir
begins a contrasting section, with the text in English. Finally, the original melody
returns, bringing us to a peaceful conclusion. The premiere of the piece was at Temple
Sholom in May, 2016.

TEXT:
Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom b’kirbi,
Aleinu v’al kol Yisrael,
V’al kol yoshvei tevel,
V’al kol haolam,
V’imru amen.

O You who makes peace in the heavens,
Make peace within myself,
For us and all Yisrael,
And all who dwell on earth,
And all our precious world,
And all our wondrous world,
And let us say amen.

—Arrangement for solo voice and piano (2020)
—Arrangement for chorus with string quartet: To purchase score and parts, contact Gerald Cohen: gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com

Premiere: May 2016:  The Temple Sholom Teen Choir, Cantor Asa Fradkin, solo, Gerald Cohen, conductor; Greenwch, CT
January 2017: Shir Chadash: The Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus, Cantor Natasha Hirschhorn, solo, Rachel Brook, conductor; Brooklyn, NY
May 2017: Gerald Cohen Vocal Ensemble, Cantor Asa Fradkin, solo; Scarsdale, NY
January 2018: Colorado Hebrew Chorale, Cantor Asa Fradkin, solo, Carol Kozak Ward, conductor; Denver, CO
January 2020: H.L. Miller Cantorial School Choir, Jewish Theological Seminary; Jacob Agar, Arielle Green, and Jacob Greenberg, soloists; Cantor Natasha Hirschhorn, conductor; New York, NY

thumbnail of Oseh Shalom score sample
Click here for sample of “Oseh Shalom” score (pdf)

To purchase score and parts, contact Gerald Cohen: gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com
PDF version of score and parts: $2.50 a copy (minimum 6 copies)

For printed version of score and parts: contact Gerald Cohen for information.
For perusal version of score, contact Gerald Cohen.

Excerpt of “Oseh Shalom” performed by vocal ensemble conducted by Gerald Cohen.

Oseh Shalom: performance at Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY ,  January 2020
H.L. Miller Cantorial School Choir; Jacob Agar, Arielle Green, and Jacob Greenberg, soloists; Cantor Natasha Hirschhorn, conductor

Oseh Shalom: premiere at Temple Sholom, Greenwich, CT, May 2016
The Temple Sholom Teen Choir, Cantor Asa Fradkin, solo, Gerald Cohen, conductor

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L’dor Vador (“From generation to generation”) was commissioned by the Cantors Assembly for HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, in honor of their founder and director, Matthew Lazar; the piece received its premiere in March 2015 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.  After thinking about several different texts for the commissioned piece,  the musical idea for L’dor Vador came to me as soon I as began composing: the perpetual motion in the piano, like time flowing by, with the choral melody poised, hovering, over the accompaniment. The text, from the Kedusha (holiness) section of the central daily Amidah prayer, is a natural choice for a choir that plays such a key role in transmitting our rich Jewish musical tradition “from generation to generation”.  HaZamir is a treasure, one that we are so fortunate to have for our young people in their growth as musicians and Jews.  I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to write this piece for them, especially with the support of the Cantors Assembly, another vitally important organization in preserving and advancing Jewish music.

TEXT:
L’dor vador nagid god’lecha,
U’l’netsach n’tsachim k’dushat’cha nakdish.
V’shivchacha, Eloheynu, mipinu lo yamush l’olam va-ed,
Ki El Melech gadol v’kadosh Atah.
Baruch Atah Adonai, haEl hakadosh.

TRANSLATION:
From generation to generation we will declare your greatness,
And for ever and ever we will make sacred your holiness.
Your praise, our God, shall never depart from our lips,
For you, God and sovereign, are great and holy.
Praised are you, Adonai, the holy God.

– from the Siddur: Kedusha section of Amidah

Premiere: March 2015:  HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, Kelly Shepard, conductor, Avery Fisher Hall, New York, NY
June 2015: The Zamir Chorale, Matthew Lazar, conductor, New York, NY
December 2015: The Zamir Chorale and Zamir Noded, Matthew Lazar, conductor, New York, NY
May 2017: Gerald Cohen Vocal Ensemble, Scarsdale, NY

thumbnail of L’dor Vador score sample
Click here for sample of “L’dor Vador” score (pdf)

To purchase score and parts, contact Gerald Cohen: gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com
PDF version of score and parts: $2.50 a copy (minimum 6 copies)

For printed version of score and parts: contact Gerald Cohen for information.
For perusal version of score, contact Gerald Cohen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from the premiere of L’dor Vador, March 2015 at Avery Fisher Hall, New York, NY

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Praise Life! Praise Wonder! is a setting of Rami Shapiro’s adaptation of Psalm 150, and was commissioned by Sharim v’Sharot, Dr. Elayne Robinson Grossman, Music Director, in honor of their 18th (Chai/Life) year as a chorus.  I have known Elayne for 35 years, and am thrilled to write this celebratory piece for her and her chorus!

For the commissioned piece, we wanted to do a piece that celebrates life, and expresses gratitude and wonder. After thinking about many different possibilities, Elayne and I decided on doing a setting of Psalm 150—the last of the book of Psalms, a great outburst of joy and praise, and also a text that has been set many times. I had never set Psalm 150, so I was excited by that. But then there was the choice of Hebrew vs. English, and if English, which translation? We decided on a superb poem by Rami Shapiro, which is not exactly a translation, but more of a transformation of the psalm. I had set Rami’s poetry before in other choral works, and love his wonderful way of engaging with the text to create something new which is nevertheless deeply tied to the original.

The commission of this piece was funded by the following generous donors:
—Amy Rappaport and Allan Freedman in celebration of their marriage, and in celebration of the Chai – 18th Anniversary of Sharim V’Sharot, Dr. Elayne Robinson Grossman, Music Director and Conductor
—Ron and Joan Portman, L’dor vador: in honor of our family and their love of Jewish music
—Max Yaffe and Joan Amatniek, in honor of synagogue Singers everywhere.

Text:
Rami M. Shapiro, Psalm 150
From “Accidental Grace: Poetry, Prayers, and Psalms”

Praise Life!
Praise Wonder!
look and see
listen and hear
taste and touch and smell
the awesome simplicity of This.

Praise Life!
in sacred places.
Praise Life!
through just acts and compassionate deeds
Praise Life!
With upbeat horn, lilting harp, entrancing lyre.

Praise Life!
With drum and dance
violin and flute
clashing cymbals.

Let all that breathe
breathe praises!
Breathe in psalms
breathe out hymns.

Breathe and sing
and let joy resound
within you
and without you.

Premiere: June 2018Sharim v’Sharot, Elayne Robinson Grossman, cond., Ewing Township, NJ.

thumbnail of Praise Life! Praise Wonder! score sample

Click here for sample of “Praise Life! Praise Wonder!” score (pdf)

To purchase score and parts, contact Gerald Cohen: gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com
PDF version of score and parts: $2.50 a copy (minimum 6 copies, includes clarinet part)

For printed version of score and parts: contact Gerald Cohen for information.
For perusal version of score, contact Gerald Cohen.

MIDI version of “Praise Life! Praise Wonder!”—
will be replaced with performance excerpt after premiere

Premiere of “Praise Life! Praise Wonder!”—with Sharim v’Sharot music Director Elayne Robinson Grossman, and the families that commissioned the work.

 

 

 

 

 

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The web page for this composition is in progress.  Please contact me at gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com for more information about the piece.

Commissioned by the Canticum Novum Singers

Published by Transcontinental Music Publications

Tab titleAudioPress

The web page for this composition is in progress.  Please contact me at gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com for more information about the piece.

Commissioned by Temple Shaaray Tefila, New York

The Louisville Courier-Journal

by Andrew Adler For Frank A. Heller III, every concert describes a small journey of inner space. Voces Novae, the chorus he trains and nurtures season after season, looks first to the spirit present within each of its singers, and by extension his audiences. It’s no exaggeration to call Heller’s perspective a pan-theistic, summoning faiths […]

Sheila Steinman Wallace

by Sheila Steinman Wallace In one of the most cohesive and moving concerts I have heard from this community chorus, Voces Novae presented “Choral Portraits: Gerald Cohen, Eleanor Daley and Eric Whitacre” on Sunday, March 7. … Gerald Cohen’s “Adonai Ro’i” (Psalm 23) has long been a personal favorite. The chorus and soloist Sarah Nettleton […]

AboutArrangementsPerformancesScoreAudioVideoPhotosPressTestimonials

 V’higad’ta L’vincha (And You Shall Tell Your Child…) was composed in 1996 for the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Barbara Tagg, founder and director, and was commissioned by the Chorus as part of the “Commissioning Music/USA” program of Meet The Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts, with support from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. In addition to this original SSA version, I have also written a version of the piece for SATB chorus.

V’higad’ta L’vincha is based on selections from the Passover Haggadah. The Haggadah, or “telling,” is the text that is used at the Seder, the family meal—full of discussion, ceremony, and song—that is the central feature of the Passover celebration of freedom and rejoicing.

One of the most significant themes of the Haggadah, emphasized in my choices of text for the piece, is that we all must experience the story of the deliverance from slavery as if we ourselves had lived through it; we must then tell our children that story so as to pass it down, vividly, from one generation to the next. Children are thus the central figures in the Seder, and it seemed most appropriate to write a setting of this text in a work composed for children’s chorus.

The piece begins with a chant-like presentation of the biblical verse that instructs us to tell our children the story of the Exodus, and then moves, as does the Haggadah, from the oppression of slavery to the joy of deliverance. That joy is expressed especially in the famous text “Dayeinu” (“It would have been enough…”), set here as a lively dance, and in the final “L’fichach,” which gives thanks to God in a procession which grows from a quiet beginning to an exuberant conclusion.

NOTE: Also available in a version for SATB chorus.  Both versions can either be performed with the instrumental version of clarinet, cello, and piano, or with the piano reduction as accompaniment.

The web page for this composition is in progress.  Please contact me at gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com for more information about the piece.

Arrangement for SATB chorus, clarinet, cello and piano (1999)

Both versions can either be performed with the instrumental version of clarinet, cello, and piano, or with the piano reduction as accompaniment.

The 4th movement “Dayeinu”, is often performed as a separate piece, and is available with the instrumental ensemble, or with piano reduction.

Premiere: April 1997  – Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Barbara Tagg, cond.; Syracuse, NY
May 1998 – Juilliard Pre-College Chorus, Rebecca Scott, cond.; New York, NY (SSA version)
April 2006 – Princeton Pro Musica, Frances Slade, cond., Lawrenceville, NJ (SATB version)
April 2010 – Choirs of Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College, Joyce Rosenzweig, cond. (SATB version)
May 2010 – Concerto Della Donna, Iwan Edwards, cond.; Montreal, Québec (SSA version)
April 2016 – HaZamir, the International Jewish High School Choir, Joel Caplan, cond., New York, NY (SATB version, “Dayeinu” movement) See video of this performance at Carnegie Hall

Recorded on album Generations: Music of Gerald Cohen, performed by the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Barbara Tagg, cond.

EXCERPTS of all movements of V’higad’ta L’vincha:

“Dayeinu”, from V’higad’ta L’vincha, performed by HaZamir, the International Jewish Teen Choir, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, April 2016. Conducted by Cantor Joel Caplan, HaZamir North Jersey and accompanied by composer Gerald Cohen on the piano.

The Louisville Courier-Journal

by Andrew Adler For Frank A. Heller III, every concert describes a small journey of inner space. Voces Novae, the chorus he trains and nurtures season after season, looks first to the spirit present within each of its singers, and by extension his audiences. It’s no exaggeration to call Heller’s perspective a pan-theistic, summoning faiths […]

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

by Eric Haines Hebrew liturgy provides blessings for every major event in the Jewish life cycle. Blessings for children, weddings, the Kaddish, the Kol Nidre and the Song of Solomon have inspired composers to write works that deserve a place on the concert stage. The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival ended its three-concert season on Tuesday […]

Sheila Steinman Wallace

by Sheila Steinman Wallace In one of the most cohesive and moving concerts I have heard from this community chorus, Voces Novae presented “Choral Portraits: Gerald Cohen, Eleanor Daley and Eric Whitacre” on Sunday, March 7. … Gerald Cohen’s “Adonai Ro’i” (Psalm 23) has long been a personal favorite. The chorus and soloist Sarah Nettleton […]

AboutArrangementsPerformancesScoreAudioVideoPhotosPressTestimonials

Y’varech’cha

The text of Y’varech’cha really consists of two parts: the first three lines, from the book of Numbers (Bamidbar), is known as the Priestly Blessing, and is perhaps the earliest extant blessing we have in Jewish texts. The last two lines are additional blessings traditionally said by parents to their children at the beginning of the Sabbath.

The core melody of Y’varech’cha, with the mood of a lullaby, was originally written in 1995 on the joyous occasion of the birth of our child, Cass. I first composed it in a version for two-part chorus (or solo duet) and piano, and have since made many different arrangements, with accompaniments available for an obbligato instrument with piano, for string quartet and orchestra, as well as various purely instrumental arrangements. I wrote a new version for SATB chorus and piano in 2020.

In addition to its use for the Sabbath, the piece is appropriate for any setting of blessing, including interfaith services.

Text and translation:

Y’varech’cha Adonai v’yishm’recha,
Ya-eir Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka,
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yaseim l’cha shalom.

Y’sim’cha Elohim k’Efrayim v’chiM’nashe,
Y’simeich Elohim k’Sara, Rivka, Racheil, v’Leia.

May the Lord bless you and guard you,
May the Lord cause the light of His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you,
May the Lord lift up His face to you, and grant you peace.

May God give you the blessings of Ephraim and Menasheh,
May God give you the blessings of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.

—Arrangement for treble voices (2 part) and orchestra (2000)
—Arrangement for 2 clarinets and piano as part of Sea of Reeds (2009)
—Arrangement for SATB chorus and piano (2020)