Sacred Service, Oratorio, Op. 254 (1954)

Excerpts from Sacred Service conducted by Marc Lavry, 1959:
Joshua Zohar, Baritone
Kol Zion Lagola Choir (The Broadcasting Service Choir)
Kol Israel Symphony Orchestra (The Broadcasting Service Orchestra)

Listen to or purchase on iTunes or Amazon.

Note: See also Excerpts of Sacred Service for Children’s Choir, Cantor and Organ

Sacred Service at Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco 1955

Sacred Service at Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco 1955

Solo:
Baritone (Cantor)
Narrator

Choir: Mixed Choir

Orchestration: 2/pic,2,2,bcl,2-4,3,3,1-timp+3-cel-hp-str

Lyrics: Hebrew Liturgy

Duration: 60 minutes

Publisher: The Marc Lavry Heritage Society

 
Synopsis:
Sacred Service was commissioned by Cantor Reuben Rinder of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco to set music to the synagogue’s Sabbath services.

Bowing at the Gala Concert of Sacred Service (Lavry in the center)

Bowing at the Gala Concert of Sacred Service (Lavry in the center)

This was the third time that Cantor Reuben Rinder of Temple Emanu-El of San Francisco commissioned a work titled “Sacred Service”, or Avodath Hakodesh, based on texts from the Siddur, a Jewish prayer book. The first composer to compose it in 1933 was Ernest Bloch, the second, in 1947, was Darius Milhaud. Lavry was commissioned in 1954.

The composition consists of two parts: the Friday evening (Sabbath Eve) and Saturday morning services, each one compiled of a number of prayers.

The rhythm of the words and tone of the passages were Lavry’s inspiration for the music. Many reviewers commented that even without listening to the words they could hear the prayers in the notes.
Lavry became so involved with the project that while writing the composition he remembered some of his father’s chants, which can be heard in Echad Hu Eloheinu (Our God is One).

At the Sacred Service after-party (from left to right):Organ player Ludwig Altman, Unknown, Issac Stern, Cantor Reuben Rinder, Marc Lavry

At the Sacred Service after-party (from left to right):
Organ player Ludwig Altman, Unknown, Issac Stern, Cantor Reuben Rinder, Marc Lavry

When writing the Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) prayer Lavry felt so much in awe that he chose an intimate and humble music where the cantor practically recites the words while the choir joins in a murmur.
The finale movement, the Halleluiah, brings the typical Lavry characteristics where both the choir and orchestra rejoice an ecstatic rhythmical dance.

One Response to Sacred Service, Oratorio, Op. 254 (1954)
  1. aline Silverman
    February 18, 2015 | 1:31 am

    We, the Tel aviv Philharmonic choir, will have the honour of singing this marvelous masterpiece tonight at the Haifa University.

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