March 31st, 2011

torah

Psalm 136

Tomorrow is Shabbat Ha-Chodesh, which means that Pesach is in a few weeks, and I've been meaning to post this for years.

Psalm 136 occurs in the middle of the Hallel (Psalms of Praise) section of the seder. Since there aren't a lot of tunes for it, many people find it boring and I even know many who skip it. In 1996, I wrote a setting of it for my Pesukei d'Zimrah, and it works great as a responsive sing-along at the seder table, too.

Three years ago, I posted the basic sheet music, but what I've really wanted to do was post a recording of it. Tonight I made such a recording, in two formats: solo vocal a cappella, as we sing it at our seder (except that everyone sings along on the "Ki Leolam Chasdo" parts), and for context, the setting for orchestra and chorus. The latter is useful if you can use your imagination to overcome the facts that (1) it's a simulated orchestra and that I am not (2) a soprano, (3) an alto, (4) a tenor, (5) sufficiently rehearsed, nor (6) warmed up.

I hope many of you will find this melody inspirational, fun, and a worthwhile addition to your sedarim.