Srul Irving Glick contributed much to the musical life of Canada . He wrote hundreds of vocal works for use in the synagogue, and many with a strong message of peace. Commissioned for the Toronto Children’s Chorus and Jean Ashworth Bartle, Psalm Trilogy for treble chorus and piano or string orchestra consists of Psalm 92: Mizmor Shir L’yom Hashabbat, Psalm 47: Lam’natzeiach Livnei Korach Mizmor, and Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd. The total time of the three performed together is approximately 13 minutes, but movements may also be purchased and performed separately. Psalm 92 (“How good it is to give thanks to you, O Lord”) can be used as a processional. It opens with 7 sopranos (who symbolize the seven days of creation) on a slow, fairly high unison line, answered by the rest of the choir, repeated as many times as necessary to move the sopranos to the front of the performing space. From there, the piece is in unison and 2-part writing in a comfortable range, mostly in Hebrew but with a short section in English. Psalm 47, marked “Joyous, with rhythmic vitality” is the most ambitious of the three for rhythmic reasons; mixed meters, frequently in 7/8 will challenge most choirs, but the reward is an energetic and somewhat quirky celebration. The text, all in Hebrew, is about singing to God with joy. The writing is mostly 2-part with recurring harmony and text in the opening and closing. Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd”) is slow and stately in two parts; a simple and moving melody in C minor with some beautiful moments of expression and word stress. Other than two words at the beginning in Hebrew, this is the only movement of the three that is sung entirely in English. Elektra has never performed these with the string orchestra accompaniment, but I can imagine they make this very beautiful music even better.
Composer / Arranger Notes:
I proceeded to compile a libretto based on the psalms of David (Psalm 92, Psalm 47, and Psalm 23) using both Hebrew and English in the text. Shortly after that, I composed the music for what was later to become the Psalm Trilogy. Being a religious and spiritually-oriented person, setting the Psalms has always been a special joy for me. In fact, because of the spiritual nature of this work, I also decided to dedicate it, with love, to my mother of blessed memory, Ida (Chaika) Glick, who was born in Benderi, Bessarabia on August 25, 1901 and died in Toronto on January 15, 1997.
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