Judaic Sacred Music Foundation

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High Holy Days

Composed in traditional Sonata Allegro form (Exposition, Development, Recapitulation), this movement centers on themes and concepts of the “call to worship” in both the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.

 Remember us to life, O God, who delights in life

 B’rosh Hashanah Yikateivun 
On Rosh Hashanah human destiny  is inscribed and on Yom Kippur it is sealed

In the center of the movement Sh’ma Yisrael reaffirms the monotheistic basis of Judaism — Hear O Israel, God is One. 

Other themes and motives are incorporated, as well as the sound of the Shofar (Ram’s horn) evoking a sense of emotional urgency associated with the desire to be renewed in the Book of Life — a central theme of the Jewish New Year. 

After a short introduction stating the Chatzi Kaddish melody, the movement introduces several High Holy Day themes: 

 Sha-a-rey Shamayim 
 Open the gates of heaven to our prayer

 Call to Worship

This movement is composed in three main sections with elements of a rondo form (recurring theme) incorporated. All the melodic material employed is based on prayers and hymns of “Hallel” (Praise). 

Ki Anu Amecha 
We are God’s People, God is our Lord
The  central Chassidic melody recurs throughout the movement and is juxtaposed with several  prayers and hymns.

M’chalkeil Chayim
God, our Lord, mighty forever 

Mi She-anah 
He who answers us

Vayomer Adonai 
The Lord forgives 

 Melech Al Kol Ha-aretz 
King who sanctifies Israel and the Day of Atonement  

Adon Olam 
Lord of the World

The living God 

This slow, contemplative movement employs the form of a double variation. The A theme is taken from the Kol Nidre prayer which is chanted at the beginning of Yom Kippur services, and the B theme is taken from the Grand Aleinu in which the cantor and congregants prostrates themselves before the Holy Ark.  Variations of these two themes are explored along with shifting keys and changing textures Many solo instruments are featured to help create intimate statements of each melody including flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, trumpet, harp, and violin.

Kol Nidre
All vows and oaths we make to G-d from this Yom Kippur until the next,  we renounce.

Aleinu Gadol
It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to exalt the Creator of the universe.

The movement concludes with the still, small sound of the shofar sounded in the oboe.

This fast, exciting, and spirited final movement juxtaposes three different melodic settings of the central prayer Avinu Malkeinu – one hassidic, one traditional, and one reform. The Kaddish and various shofar fanfares are also incorporated.

Avinu Malkeinu
Our Father, our King, be gracious to us and answer us.

Glorified and sanctified is G-d’s great name.

Shofar (Tekiah Gedolah)
The final, long shofar call signifying the end of Yom Kippur.