honoring Robert Snyder, Chairman, Zamir Chorale of Boston
Presented by the Zamir Chorale of Boston
On Wednesday evening, June 14, 2017, the Zamir Chorale of Boston will explore the beauty and variety of musical settings of the biblical Psalms with a performance of awePsalm, a concert honoring Zamir’s outgoing chairman, Robert Snyder, at 7:30 pm, at Temple Emanuel in Newton.
AwePsalm will feature the 55-voice chorale with symphonic orchestra and include ancient Sephardic Psalmody and compositions by Salamone Rossi, Leonard Bernstein (Chichester Psalms), Benjie Ellen Schiller, Jeremiah Klarman, and others. A new work, composed for this concert by our honoree, will be debuted that evening.
Letters between Leonard Bernstein and the Very Reverend Walter Hussey (1909-1985), dean of the cathedral in Chichester, England (1963-1964)
Dear Mr. Bernstein,
The choirs of Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals combine for a short festival each year which takes place in the three cathedrals in turn. … The Chichester organist and choirmaster and I are very anxious to have written some piece of music which the combined choirs could sing at the festival to be held in Chichester in August, 1965, and we wondered whether by any chance you would be willing to write something for us. …
A month and a half later, Bernstein accepted the commission and agreed to write for the festival.
The following summer, Rev. Hussey wrote:
Dear Dr. Bernstein,
We are all tremendously looking forward to the setting of the Psalm which you kindly said you would write for us for our three choirs festival next year. … I think many of us would be very delighted if there was a hint of “West Side Story” about the music.
Next winter, just a few months before the deadline, Bernstein wrote:
My dear Dean Hussey:
I was on the verge of writing you a sad letter saying that I could not find in me the work for your festival, when suddenly a conception occurred to me that I find exciting. It would be a suite of Psalms, or selected verses from Psalms. The music is all very forthright, songful, rhythmic, youthful. The only hitch is this: I can think of these psalms only in the original Hebrew.
And three months later, Bernstein added:
I am pleased with the work and hope you will be, too; it is quite popular in feeling, even a hint, as you suggested, of West Side Story, and it has an old-fashioned sweetness along with its more violent moments.