Our First Commission
This symphonic work is in four movements. Each movement contains original musical material based on the traditional Jewish New Year services (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century Eastern European synagogues.
These melodies embody prayers and hymns derived from the Bible, Talmud, and Mahzor written between the 5th and 6th centuries, which made the synagogue on these Days of Awe a treasure house where the national and religious genius of Israel was embodied.
The primary goal in creating this symphony was to capture that deep, emotional, and creative aura that imbued the heightened sense of personal relationship between the Jewish people and God.
Currently, all four movements have been written and orchestrated by Dr. Rothstein. Movements I and II have been recorded by the Bratislava Studio Symphony under the direction of Vladimir Martinka.
Movement III is recorded on piano.
The Bratislava Studio Symphony will record Movements III and IV this July.
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:
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.
God, our Lord, mighty forever
He who answers us
The Lord forgives
Melech Al Kol Ha-aretz
King who sanctifies Israel and the Day of Atonement
Lord of the World
The living God
Piano Version – Full Orchestra Version Coming Soon
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.
All vows and oaths we make to G-d from this Yom Kippur until the next, we renounce.
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.
Full Orchestra Version Coming Soon
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.
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.