A Carol for Chanukah

by Charles Feldman

edited by Joel Pressman

SATB, cantor, piano

Laurendale Associates


Review from The Choral Journal, September, 1997

Charles Feldman, music director at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, composed this setting of two verses from Psalm 118 ("The Lord is my strength and song"). It is edited by Joel Pressman as part of the LDM Sacred Jewish Sacred Choral Music Series. The lines of text are sung first in Hebrew and then in English, and Feldman has constructed an energetic opening melody that matches the syllabic stresses of both languages without awkwardness. This melody returns at the end of the piece’s ABA form; the middle section is a brief contrasting call-and-response for cantor and choir. The two-minute work is festive and energetic, written in a tonal and triadic style, but with hints of more contemporary harmonies in the B section. Moving in a fast triple meter, the piece includes melismatic eighth-note passages that will require careful articulation, particularly in the tenor. The solo cantor part is contained within an octave range. From its fanfarelike opening to the closing Haleluyah, this setting would be rewarding in both concert and worship settings. Feldman gave the piece its title because Psalm 118 "is traditionally heard in celebrations of Chanukah," but since the text makes no specific references to the holiday, he suggests the work could be performed year-round.

Reviewed by Corydon J. Carlson