Pitchu Li is a setting of a portion of Psalm 118, a text that is sung in Hallel—the joyous set of Psalms sung on most Jewish holidays. I am so delighted to be writing another piece to be given its premiere by the wonderful young singers of HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir, an organization that has given a powerful and joyful experience of Jewish music to several thousand teens over the course of their high school years. The piece was Commissioned for HaZamir through The Jeanne and Irwin Mandell Fund for New Music, and was given its premiere at David Geffen Hall in New York City in March 2019.
Pitchu Li (Psalm 118: 19-24)
Pitchu li shaarei tsedek, avo vam odeh Ya,
Ze hasha-ar ladonai, tsadikim yavo-u vo.
Od’cha ki anitani, vat’hi li lishua,
Even ma-assu habonim, hai’ta l’rosh pina.
Me’et Adonai haita zot, hi niflat b’eneinu,
Ze hayom asa Adonai, nagila v’nism’cha vo.
Open for me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them to thank Adonai.
This is the gateway to Adonai; through it the righteous shall enter.
I will offer thanks to You, for You answered me, and You were my rescuer.
The stone the builders rejected has become the keystone.
This is Adonai’s doing; how wondrous it is in our sight.
This is the day that Adonai has made; we shall celebrate and rejoice in it!
Premiere: March 2019: HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir, David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, NY
June 2019: American Conference of Cantors convention, Atlanta, GA
July 2019: HaZamir Choir, North American Jewish Choral Festival, Stamford, CT
Premiere of Pitchu Li: Hazamir, the International Jewish Teen Choir, Scott Stein, cond.; Gerald Cohen, piano