There is a new CD release of Berakhot: A Midrash Cantata by
Bruce Chalmer, performed by the Fyre and Lightning Consort with guest tenor soloist
Roger Grow. The CD, on the Rootstock Recordings label of Multicultural Media, is
available at www.worldmusicstore.com.
“Berakhot: A Midrash Cantata is a work of Jewish music consisting of 26 musical pieces, each a midrashic interpretation of a particular prayer or text on the theme of berakha (blessing). The forms of the pieces include original poetry set to music, musical settings of liturgical texts in Hebrew, English, or both, and musical
compositions without words. The music is scored for voices (SATB) and a variety of early and modern instruments (varying among the pieces), and includes medieval- and renaissance-like polyphony, klezmer, blues, doo-wop, barbershop quartet, a touch of reggae, and many other styles. A major part of the work is the program notes and commentary booklet, which includes a page for each piece laid out in Talmudic fashion, with the text of the piece in the middle, and the composer’s commentary around it. This commentary is, in turn, surrounded by visual midrash in the form of art by internationally known artist (and Beth Jacob member) Diane Sophrin.”