Music: Sun Apr 8

Passover, which commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt, has engendered a wealth of traditional, liturgical, and programmatic music, examples of which are featured in this morning’s musical selections. In addition, the theme of liberation has resonated with oppressed peoples ever since Old Testament times, and a number of African-American Spirituals speak to an identification with historic Jewish struggles.

French composer Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) was an observant Jew, who is purported to have perished when he reached for a volume of the Talmud and toppled an entire bookcase! His paraphrase of the 137th Psalm recalls another period of exile during biblical times. Read on for highlights of musical works to be performed as well as a translation of the 137th Psalm.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Wade in the Water
                                    Traditional Spiritual, arr. by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Super Flumina Babylonis (Psalm 137)*
                                                            Charles Valentin Alkan

Special Music: Kim Force, soprano
There’s No Seder Like Our Seder
                                    Irving Berlin

Other Holiday-themed songs include:
Go Down Moses, Dayeinu, Soon the Day Will Arrive, Chad Gadya, and Shalom Chaverim

Psalm 137
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.
Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,

    “tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

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