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.
The web page for this composition is in progress. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the piece.
Arrangement for SATB chorus, clarinet, cello and piano (1999)
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.
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