A CD OF CHORAL WORKS ON THE THEME OF SPIRITUAL LOVE
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Love Endureth

The test of religion, the final test of religion, is not religiousness, but love.
Henry Drummond

Praise the Lord, for he is good: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Praise ye the God of gods: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Praise ye the Lord of lords: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.

Who alone doth great wonders: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Who made the heavens in understanding: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Who established the earth above the waters: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Who made the great lights: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
The sun to rule over the day: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
The moon and the stars to rule the night: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.

Ki L’olam chasdo, Ki L’olam chasdo (“For forever His mercy”)

Who smote Egypt with their firstborn:
Who brought Israel from among them:
With a mighty hand and a stretched out arm:
Who divided the Red Sea into parts: And brought out Israel through the midst thereof:
And overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea:

Praise the Lord, for he is good: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Praise ye the God of gods: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Praise ye the Lord of lords: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.

Give glory to the God of heaven: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.
Give glory to the Lord of lords: for His steadfast love endureth for ever.

This setting of Psalm 136(135) was commissioned as part of a psalm series by Soli Deo Gloria, devoted to promoting music in the Biblical tradition, for Westminster Cathedral Choir. The original brief referred to the “old Hebrew psalms” which planted the idea in my mind to bring a strong Jewish flavour to both the music and the words. I have used two fragments of Spanish Sephardic chants (from both this psalm and the previous one) and, half way throughout the piece, substituted the English response for its Hebrew equivalent “Ki L’olam chasdo” – “For forever His mercy.”

I am deeply indebted to Cantor Jaclyn Chernett, Dr Alexander Knapp and Victor Tunkel for their help and advice; to Peter Bannister and Soli Deo Gloria for this commission and to Westminster Cathedral’s Martin Baker and Fr Alexander Master, for their continued support and guidance, during the composition process.

The work is dedicated to Martin Baker and Westminster Cathedral Choir.

Roxanna Panufnik, 27th February, 2012


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