Evening Meditations, for SATB chorus and piano (2010) | 9’

  1. **Bless Adonai who spins day into dusk
  2. The heavens express your fire

**1st piece published by Transcontinental Music Publications

Evening Meditations was commissioned by the Horace Mann Chamber Choir, Timothy Ho, conductor. In talking about writing a new composition for the choir, Mr. Ho and I discussed writing a piece which was connected to the Jewish tradition, but at the same time expressed universal themes. This fit in closely with a key idea for me: of a sense of wonder and gratitude for the world around us as being central to finding a sense of the spiritual in our lives.

I chose two poems that are English interpretations of traditional Hebrew liturgy. The first, “Bless Adonai who spins day into dusk,” is Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s version of the blessing said at each evening service in the Jewish tradition. The second, “The heavens express your fire,” is an interpretation of the beginning of Psalm 19, and is written by Norman Fischer, a Zen Buddhist monk of Jewish origin, who translated a large number of the Psalms in the book Opening to You.

It was a pleasure to write this piece for this excellent high school choir of 17 singers (including my son Daniel, one of the basses). My thanks to Timothy Ho, an inspiring and beloved teacher at the school.   Evening Meditations received its premiere performance in New York City in March 2011.


1. Bless Adonai
who spins day into dusk
with wisdom watch
the dawn gates open
with understanding let
time and seasons
come and go;
with awe perceive
the stars in lawful orbit
Morning dawns
evening darkens
darkness and light yielding
one to the other
yet each distinguished
and unique.

Marvel at Life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek Wisdom and Truth,
the gateways
to Life’s mysteries!
Wondrous indeed
is the evening twilight.
-Rami Shapiro,
based on the evening liturgy

2. The heavens express your fire
The night sky is the work of your hands
Day after day is your spoken language
Night after night your perfect knowing
There is no speech, there are no words
Their voice falls silent
Yet the music plays everywhere
To the ends of the earth its clear notes float out
To the end of the worlds the words pronounced
Become a tabernacle for the sun
-Norman Fischer,
based on Psalm 19


Premiere: March 2011, Horace Mann Chamber Choir, Timothy Ho, cond.
June 2018: Interreligiöser Chor Frankfurt (Frankfurt Interfaith Choir), Bettina Strübel and Daniel Kempin, cond.

thumbnail of The Heavens express your fire score sample

Click here for sample of “The heavens declare your fire” 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.

For purchase of “Bless Adonai who spins day into night” go to Transcontinental Music Publications.