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by Michael Reid Winikoff

Grand Anthem for SATB Choir, accompanied or a cappella
Festivals, Concert, General

DURATION: approx. 3:45                                                                     Purchase

-- Listen/View - with piano
-- Listen/View - a cappella

-- Listen Only - with piano (faster load)
-- Listen Only - a cappella

The Text:  This rather unassuming passage from the daily Ma'ariv (Evening) service speaks of the Israelites being led through the divided waters of Yam Suf - the Sea of Reeds (a.k.a. the Red Sea), conveying the precept of this grand event as transformative and epoch-making in the lives of the Israelites, in the life of Israel.  

The Music:  The piece opens in a tentative, brooding march mode, depicting the initially hesitant, halting steps down into the bed of the parted waters.  Gradually, the music builds in determination and confidence, even as it plunges to the depths as Pharaoh's pursuing army is inundated and drowned.

Out of a harmonically shifting chromatic passage, the music transforms into a victorious major version of the original brooding theme.  Israel's trust in divine providence is justified, as she breaks forth into a song of praise and thanksgiving.

Given its theme, grand setting and vivid pictorial images, Hama'avir Banav is eminently apropos to the great festival of Passover, and highly suitable for concert use in either its accompanied or a cappella version.

This work is moderately challenging for its highly chromatic shifting harmonies, particularly just before the thrilling transition into the sweeping major section.  It requires a choral ensemble with vocal capabilities to achieve the soaring lines of the last section of the piece - particularly in the soprano and tenor - and an overall grand effect.  The a cappella version is even slightly more demanding, calling for a bass section capable of sustaining low E's through much of the piece.

  Challenge level - 4 out of 6 stars

Hama-avir banav
Bein gizrei Yam Suf
Et rodfeihem v'et soneihem
Bit-homot tiba.

V'ra-u vanav g'vurato
Shibchu v'hodu lishmo
Umalchuto b'ratzon kiblu aleihem.

Moshe uv'nei Yisraeil
L'cha anu shira
B'simcha raba
V'amru chulam.

He caused His children to pass
Between the Red Sea's divided waters,
Inundating their pursuers and their foes
In the watery depths.

When His children beheld His power,
They praised and thanked His name,
Accepting His sovereignty willingly.

Moses and the children of Israel
Sang a song to Him
In great joy
All singing together.