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Voices of Ascension

Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Bloch's Sacred Service

Featuring baritone Zachary Nelson, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera

Conducted by Dennis Keene

Commissioned in 1965 by the Cathedral at Chichester, England, for its annual choral festival, American composer Leonard Bernstein described his Chichester Psalms as popular in feeling, with sweetness along with more violent moments. Despite its brevity, the work possesses considerable scope, journeying through extroverted joy, prayer, anxiety, the warring of nations, and, with the last phrases of music, peace. And, while it is a setting of sacred Hebrew psalms, the Bernstein of West Side Story is unmistakably present.

Ernest Blochs 1934 Sacred Service (Avodath Hakodesh) constitutes a milestone in the history of liturgical music: Sacred Service is the only composition on a large scale written for Jewish worship by a major composer. Built upon the text for the Sabbath Morning Service, its inspiration emerges from the human spirit, and as was Blochs hope, it transcends and embraces all humanity. Singing the central cantorial solo will be the brilliant young American baritone, Zachary Nelson.

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Earlier Event: April 29
LA Philharmonic (solo!)