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MOTET: Havieinu el Har Kodshecha
by Michael Reid Winikoff

SATB Choir, a cappella
Yom Kippur, Slichot

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Still widely known in the classic settings by its former incipit Tvieinu or Tvienu (as rendered in older prayer books), this text is the concluding one of a set of verses in the S'lichot service, each of which quotes a biblical passage preceded by a petition correlating to the scripture.  The present verse based on Isaiah 56:7 petitions G-d to “Bring us to Your holy mountain, and let us rejoice in Your house of prayer” for “My house shall be proclaimed a house of prayer for all peoples.”

The work is called a motet due to its interweaving texture, its “prelude and fugue” form, and its challenging nature.  The brief but intricate fugue is built on a thematic fragment of the Kol Nidrei chant.  There follows a development of thematic material from the first section.  The style aimed for might well be described as “19th Century Grandeloquent.”

The musical texture of Havieinu is full, but should be approached in a lightweight manner, only occasionally waxing heroic.  It does not require a large ensemble, but certainly a skilled one.  The complex polyphony of the fugue and constantly shifting harmonic colors throughout call for rhythmic and tonal accuracy.

  Challenge level - 5 out of 6 stars

Havieinu [Tvieinu] el har kodshecha
V’samcheinu b’veit t’filatecha

K’mo shekatuv:

“Vahaviotim el har kodshi
V’simachtim b’veit t’filati...
Ki veiti beit t’filaYikarei
l’chol ha-amim

[You will] Bring us to Your holy mountain,
And let us rejoice in Your house of prayer.

As it is written:

"I shall bring them to My holy mountain
And let them rejoice in My house of prayer...
For My house shall be called a house of prayer
For all peoples.”

- Isaiah 56:7