Lo Lanu Ha-Shem (Psalm 115) for Women's Chorus (SSAA), Flute, Harp, Two Horns, Double-Bass and Tambourine
Lo Lanu Ha-Shem is a setting of Psalm 115 for Women’s Chorus, Flute, Two Horns, Harp, Double-Bass and Tambourine. The Psalm text shows how unique the Jews were in the ancient world, with a faith in an invisible God. Ancient Israel’s enemies made fun of the Jews’ faith, and when they didn't see any image of a god anywhere to defend the Jews, the enemies asked “Where is their God now?” The Psalm shows how the idols of Israel’s enemies were powerless, man-made objects, while the Jews’ God exists in the heavens and is all powerful.
Just as J.S. Bach fused a Lutheran chorale melody into a secular-styled concerto form in many of his Chorale cantatas, Lo Lanu Ha-Shem inserts a chorale-styled melody into a Middle-Eastern popular-styled song form. As in Bach's Chorale cantatas, the chorale-styled melody is used in different ways in Lo Lanu Ha-Shem. Most of the text of Lo Lanu Ha-Shem is in a modern English translation, but to capture a little of the spirit of the original Psalm, the first line is sung in Hebrew and is used as a refrain.
The instrumentation of Lo Lanu Ha-Shem was inspired by the Brahms' Four Songs for Women's Chorus, Two Horns and Harp, Op.17. Because of the similarity in instrumentation to the Brahms' Four Songs, Lo Lanu Ha-Shem would be a great addition to a program that includes the Brahms work. Lo Lanu Ha-Shem has more in common with Brahms than the instrumentation, though. While Brahms' influence may be heard throughout Lo Lanu Ha-Shem in an understated way, in the middle of the work there is a slow section where Aaron lets his "Inner Brahms" fully express itself.
Lo Lanu Ha-Shem received a Silver Medal at the March 2019 Global Music Awards and won an Honorable Mention in the 2019-2020 American Prize in the Major Choral Works division. Aaron has written two other works that are based on Lo Lanu Ha-Shem. Please click on Variation on Lo Lanu Ha-Shem for solo Alto Flute and Variations on Lo Lanu Ha-Shem for 'Cello and Piano for information and to hear performances of those works.
Below is the video of the World Premiere performance of Lo Lanu Ha-Shem by The New Mexico Bach Society Chorale and Players and Santa Fe Women's Ensemble, Franz Vote, Conductor (pictured below.)