STYLE: Choral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13067- LABEL: Naxos American Classics 8559412 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
'AHAVA - Brotherhood' is a symphonic setting of dramatic readings that include the Biblical prophets, medieval Spanish-Hebrew poets and even George Washington. It was written by David Diamond (born 1915) to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of American Jewry and the beginnings of an American Jewish community. Diamond selected key texts that are read most stirringly by Theodore Bikel with accompaniment from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. It is interesting, which is not meant as faint praise, but the words are so much stronger than the music that the piece does not stand repeated listening but the appeal for "goodness, benevolence and compassion" is worth hearing in these troubled times. The second half of the hour on this CD is entitled "Music For Prayer" in which we get seven debut recordings of settings commissioned by the Park Avenue Synagogue in the years 1946-51. The composers are Diamond, Morton Gould (1913-96), Roy Harris (1898-1979) and Douglas Moore (1893-1969). Each piece deserves an essay to set it in its full context but space does not permit this in a review. However the 22-page booklet gives you all you need, including translations of the Hebrew tests used, and at £4-99 you can easily start exploring for yourself.
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