Praise Life! Praise Wonder!, for SATB chorus, clarinet, and piano (2018) | 3’


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.

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:
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.