The Influence of the Reformed Jewish Movement and Religious Belief on Text-Setting in Darius Milhaud's Service Sacré
AuthorSilverman, Gregory Carmine
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe music and texts of the Jewish liturgy are commonly called the Sacred Service. Choral settings of this liturgy form a distinct genre of choral music. Despite the rich history and influence of the text itself, relatively few composers have set it chorally. Among the two most influential settings are Avodath Hakodesh (1933) by Ernest Bloch and Darius Milhaud’s Service sacré (Sacred Service) of 1947. Temple Emanu-El Reformed Congregation in San Francisco commissioned both under the leadership of Cantor Reuben Rinder, and the two pieces have many similarities. The focus of the present research is on expressive text-setting in the Service sacré of Darius Milhaud. My research suggests that study of Milhaud’s personal beliefs and religious background can help explain some of the composer’s compositional decisions in Service sacré. Milhaud’s background includes deep roots in the Jewish tradition, but he also shows a keen appreciation for aspects of Christian theology. Prior to this study, Milhaud’s intent to expressively set the text has not been thoroughly considered. Particularly interesting are his settings of texts that deal with themes such as salvation and redemption, including movements such as Tsur Yisrael (Mvt. V), Praised be Thou, O Lord (Mvt. VI), and Returning the Scroll to the Ark (Mvt. XII). These topics of salvation and redemption are usually deemphasized in the Reformed Jewish perspective. Yet, in Milhaud’s work, these portions are highlighted through his compositional settings.
Degree ProgramGraduate College