A Setting of the Psalms by Bernstein Makes for Serene Listening

Daniel Hughes leads The Choral Project in a performance of Bernstein's 'Chichester Psalms' in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz

Daniel Hughes leads The Choral Project in a performance of Bernstein's 'Chichester Psalms' in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz (Photo: Courtesy of The Choral Project )

The South Bay’s Choral Project is celebrating Leonard Bernstein on his 100th birthday with a concert titled the Art of Sound, featuring the serene and lovely Chichester Psalms. This commission from Chichester Cathedral in England features music cut from Bernstein’s West Side Story, but the highlight for me is “Psalm 23,” written for countertenor or boy singer, meant to sound like the voice of young King David.

In Psalms, Bernstein is wrestling with his Jewish identity (which he did often). The lyrics are in Hebrew, and the text pulls the music toward optimism and hope. The chorus sings in the closing verses, “Behold how good, and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Good advice for our partisan times.

Details on the Choral Project’s performances on Feb. 10 and 11 are here.

A Setting of the Psalms by Bernstein Makes for Serene Listening 31 January,2018Cy Musiker

Author

Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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