Some Jewish-Themed Choral Words with Orchestra

Ben-Haim, Paul. Kabbalat Shabbat. Israel Music Institute. A setting of the Friday night Shabbat liturgy. Originally written for a youth mixed chorus tenor and soprano solos, with a chamber orchestra.

Bernstein, Leonard. Chichester Psalms. Boosey & Hawkes. Settings of Psalms in three movements, scored for chorus, four soloists, orchestra (without woodwinds).

Bernstein, Leonard. Kaddish Symphony. Boosey & Hawkes. Bernstein’s third symphony is about a crisis of faith. Scored for narrator, mezzo soprano solo, large chorus, children’s choir, narrator and large orchestra.

Bloch, Ernest. Sacred Service. Broude Brothers. Perhaps the greatest setting of the Jewish liturgy. More like an oratorio. Scored for mixed chorus, baritone solo and large orchestra.

Braun, Yehezkel. Hallel. Israel Music Institute. Setting of Psalms 113-118 for chorus and orchestra.

Hajdu, André. Dreams of Spain. Israel Music Institute. An oratorio composed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

Lidarti, Christiano. Ester. Israel Music Institute. Baroque oratorio based on the story of Esther, scored for chorus, soloists and (small) Baroque orchestra.

Milhaud, Darius. Service Sacré. Salabert (Boosey & Hawkes). Setting of the Sabbath liturgy influenced by Provençal melodies. Scored for chorus, baritone solo, orchestra.

Osborne, Charles. Like Wildflowers Suddenly (click) Oratorio about the founding of the State of Israel. Chorus, tenor solo, narrator, orchestra.

Osborne, Charles. Kings and Fishermen (click) Oratorio about the saving of Danish Jewry during the Holocaust. Chorus, tenor solo, narrator, orchestra.

Osborne, Charles. Samachti (click) Setting (short) of Psalm 122 scored for mixed chorus and orchestra.

Osborne, Charles. Sephardic Havdalah (click) Setting of the Saturday night liturgy scored for mixed chorus, tenor solo and orchestra.

Osborne, Charles. Souls on Fire (click) Oratorio about the Hassidic masters. Chorus, tenor solo, narrator, orchestra.

Saladin, Louis. Canticum Hebraicum (click) French Baroque cantata, originally written for a circumcision celebration. Chorus, countertenor, tenor and bass soloists, orchestra.

Schoenberg, Arnold. A Survivor from Warsaw. Schott. Short cantata relating events in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. Scored for male chorus, narrator, large orchestra.

Schoenberg, Arnold. Kol Nidre. Schott. Cantata based on the penitential service for the evening of Yom Kippur scored for narrator, mixed chorus and large orchestra.

Seter, Moredcai. Tikkun ChatsotIsrael Music Institute. Oratorio based on the service of a midnight vigil.

Siegel, Lawrence. Kaddish (click) Holocaust oratorio.

Starer, Robert. Ariel. MCA. Oratorio based on the prophesies of Isaiah scored for chorus, soprano and baritone soloists, orchestra.

Weill, Kurt. The Eternal Road. In 1937 Weill composed this fully staged oratorio, which traces the history of the Jewish people from biblical times to the 20th century, as part of an effort to call attention to the plight of Jews in Germany at the time.

Whitacre, Eric. Five Hebrew Love Songs. Walton Music. This popular choral work is orchestrated to include a string quartet and tambourine.

There are also many works based on texts from the Hebrew Bible (The “Old Testament”) that would be appropriate. Among them:

Handel, George F. Judas Maccabaeus, Saul, Israel in Egypt, Solomon, and other oratorios based on the Hebrew Bible (the “Old Testament”).

Walton, William. Belshazzar’s Feast

Stravinsky, Igor. Symphony of Psalms