NAXOS TO RELEASE LEONARD BERNSTEIN’S KADDISH
SYMPHONY AND CHICHESTER PSALMS FROM THE MILKEN ARCHIVE OF AMERICAN
JEWISH MUSIC SEPTEMBER 20th
Recording by Gerard Schwarz
and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir launches third year
of landmark CD series on Naxos’ American Classics
To celebrate the third year of the Milken Archive of American Jewish
Music, Naxos is releasing a new recording on September 20th of
Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony No. 3 and Chichester
Psalms with Gerard Schwarz leading the Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra and Choir, Yvonne Kenny (soprano), and Willard White (speaker).
The rarely-recorded Kaddish Symphony, dedicated to John
F. Kennedy, was originally commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation
and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who performed the American premiere
with Charles Munch in January 1964. The piece received its world
premiere in Tel Aviv in December 1963 with Bernstein conducting the
Israel Philharmonic. Bernstein completed a final authorized version,
the basis of the Milken Archive recording, in 1977.
In the Kaddish Symphony, perhaps more than in any of his other
compositions, Leonard Bernstein combined his Jewish spiritual roots
and his lifelong concern for the plight of a floundering humanity.
A non-liturgical concert work with marked theatrical overtones, the Kaddish
Symphony draws on two aspects of Judaism—the Kaddish (“sanctification”)
prayer of praise and affirmation and the Hassidic image of a candid dialogue
with God—to address the threat of nuclear annihilation and society’s
spiritual and moral self-destruction from ignorance and intolerance.
Chichester Psalms, a setting of Psalm texts for chorus,
boy soloist, and orchestra, is alternately exuberant and lyrical.
Commissioned by England’s Chichester Cathedral, premiered almost
exactly forty years ago, and firmly ensconced in the Western canon, this
work reflects the ecumenical spirit of the 1960’s and embodies the
composer’s most accessible style.
The new CD, released in advance of the Jewish High Holy Days, complements
the Milken Archive’s 2003 release Leonard Bernstein, A Jewish
Legacy, featuring the composer’s lesser-known early Jewish-related
compositions, which The Newark Star Ledger called “the most
illuminating Bernstein recording in years.”
The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music (www.milkenarchive.org),
founded in 1990 by Milken Family Foundation chair Lowell Milken, covers
the entire range of Jewish musical expression in America in the context
of the American Jewish experience. Over a three-year period, 50
CDs are being released, comprising more than 600 sacred and secular works,
all newly recorded by outstanding artists.
Naxos distributes the Milken Archive recordings as part of its
American Classics series, the most ambitious recording project
of American music ever undertaken. The Milken Archive recordings,
introduced in North America in September 2003, have been distributed internationally
since November 2004.
LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): Kaddish Symphony; Chichester
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz
Yvonne Kenny, soprano; Willard White, speaker