Chants, Pastorals and Antiphons of the New Moon

Naftali Schindler
Classical / Chamber music
Horn, Harp
Scored for
Type of score
Score for two performers
Very difficult
Year of composition

I got the idea for this piece from harpist Colleen Potter. After commissioning the piece she helped spur my creativity by
reminding me that the harp and horn are very ancient instruments. I thought of how in the ancient temple in Jerusalem, two
of the main instruments were the kinnor (a type of harp) and the hatzotzra (a silver horn). That led me to Psalm 104 which is
typically recited by Jews (and probably sung in the Jerusalem temple) at the beginning of a month (in the lunar calendar,
hence the New Moon in the title). We have no knowledge of what the temple music was like, so I just went with my
inspiration as shaped by various ancient vocal traditions from around the world. The traditions that inspired me in this piece
are Yemenite Jewish antiphonal singing (i.e. soloist being answered by a group), Tibetan monk chanting, Mongolian long
song, and overtone-centered music from central Asia. The fact that I was inspired by that music doesn't mean the listener will
necessarily hear those traditions in my piece and I don't intend that. The listener will hear, however, the harpist chanting
snatches of Psalm 104 in the ancient Yemenite pronunciation of the Hebrew text.
The piece is shaped as a very free developing rondo. The core of the piece consists of a chanting main theme and an
antiphonal second theme. These themes, plus some new "pastoral" material, are developed between recurrences of the
chanting theme. The two themes appear near the end with the second theme, taking on the tonal language of the first theme.
The piece is framed by shofar (ram's horn) blasts on the horn. The interval of the fourth (central in Yemenite singing) is
important for the vertical sonorities of the piece as well as in the long-term tonal arrangement.

Upload date: 26 Feb 2014


Sheet music file
3.00 USD
PDF, 664.9 Kb (21 p.)



Log in to post a comment