Sacred Service, Oratorio

Opus: 254 Year: 1954 
Ensemble
Baritone, Narrator, Choir, Symphonic Orchestra: 2/pic,2,2,bcl,2-4,3,3,1-timp+3-cel-hp-str
DURATION
66:00 min
Sheet Music
Sacred Service, Oratorio : Full Set$379.00
Sacred Service, Oratorio : Score Only$109.00
Sacred Service, Oratorio : Vocal Score$72.00

A recording of Sacred Service from a 1959 live concert:
Marc Lavry, Conductor
Joshua Zohar, Baritone
Kol Zion Lagola Choir (The Broadcasting Service Choir)
Kol Israel Symphony Orchestra (The Broadcasting Service Orchestra)

Listen to or purchase on iTunes or Amazon.

Note: See also Excerpts of Sacred Service for Children’s Choir, Cantor and Organ

Sacred Service at Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco 1955

Sacred Service at Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco 1955

Lyrics: Hebrew Liturgy

Publisher: The Marc Lavry Heritage Society

Synopsis:
Sacred Service was commissioned by Cantor Reuben Rinder of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco to set music to the synagogue’s Sabbath services.

Bowing at the Gala Concert of Sacred Service (Lavry in the center)

Bowing at the Gala Concert of Sacred Service (Lavry in the center)

This was the third time that Cantor Reuben Rinder of Temple Emanu-El of San Francisco commissioned a work titled “Sacred Service”, or Avodath Hakodesh, based on texts from the Siddur, a Jewish prayer book. The first composer to compose it in 1933 was Ernest Bloch, the second, in 1947, was Darius Milhaud. Lavry was commissioned in 1955.

The composition consists of two parts: the Friday evening (Sabbath Eve) and Saturday morning services, each one compiled of a number of prayers.

The rhythm of the words and tone of the passages were Lavry’s inspiration for the music. Many reviewers commented that even without listening to the words they could hear the prayers in the notes.
Lavry became so involved with the project that while writing the composition he remembered some of his father’s chants, which can be heard in Echad Hu Eloheinu (Our God is One).

At the Sacred Service after-party (from left to right):Organ player Ludwig Altman, Unknown, Issac Stern, Cantor Reuben Rinder, Marc Lavry

At the Sacred Service after-party (from left to right):
Organ player Ludwig Altman, Unknown, Issac Stern, Cantor Reuben Rinder, Marc Lavry

When writing the Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) prayer Lavry felt so much in awe that he chose an intimate and humble music where the cantor practically recites the words while the choir joins in a murmur.
The finale movement, the Halleluiah, brings the typical Lavry characteristics where both the choir and orchestra rejoice an ecstatic rhythmical dance.

Anecdote: the image at the top of this page is a painting by Marc Lavry on the theme of Sacred Service.