Celebrating 40 years! 1983-2023

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Hebrew Meditations (score & parts) - OB/STG3

Composer: Kesselman, Lee R.

Publisher: TrevCo

Edition: 71628


Hebrew Meditations
for oboe, violin, viola, and cello
by Lee R. Kesselman - American composer

for the Metropolis Oboe Quartet


Hebrew Meditations

These three character pieces reflect different aspects of Jewish spirituality.  The first, Song, is merely an abstract meditation without a textual reference, a moment of lyrical beauty. The second, Zichronam, means ‘memories.’  It is meant to evoke those who have passed. It could be loved ones, martyrs, or anyone who is remembered.  The Hebrew expression, “zichronam livracha,”, often abbreviated, “z”l”, means “May their memory be for a blessing.” It is traditional, in Judaism, when mentioning the name of someone who has died,  to say, “My parents, may their memory be for a blessing, had three sons.”  Dayenu, the third movement, means “it would have been enough, or, it would have been sufficient.” It is a theme-and-variations on a Hebrew Passover song of the same title. The song is a long litany (15 verses!) of a series of kindnesses that God performed for the Jewish people during and after the Exodus from Egypt: 

“If He had taken us out of Egypt and not made judgements on them; dayenu.

If He had made judgments on them and had not judged their gods; dayenu.

If He had split the Red Sea for us and had not taken us through it onto dry land; dayenu.

…and so forth.  Traditionally, the song is sung at the end of the Passover Seder, after much ceremony, food, merry-making and wine-drinking. To say that the song often gets rowdy would be an understatement.  The prayer itself is at least 1000 years old.  And like the Hebrew song itself, this set of variations is meant to be a rather incessant ‘song cootie’ which goes on long enough – dayenu!     LRK


Lee R. Kesselman is best known as a composer of vocal works, including opera, music for chorus, chamber music and solo songs. Kesselman was Director of Choral Activities at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, a suburb of Chicago, since 1981.  He performs regularly as a conductor and as a collaborative pianist. His works include over 150 choral works, 2 chamber operas, more than 30 art-songs and chamber works for solo voice, in addition to instrumental chamber music and works for large ensembles and for dance. Kesselman is known for his diverse musical styles, unique approach to texts, and compositional craft. Many of Kesselman’s works can be found on https://soundcloud.com/lee-kesselman and a complete catalog on www.kesselmanpress.com.  For more information, contact the composer at LRKmus@sbcglobal.net