Laurence Traiger
Prayers Without Words
for two solo violins, Orchestra and Choir

Shneor Zalman was of the opinion that melody is the outpouring of the soul,
but that words interrupt the stream of the emotions.
"For the songs of the souls at the time they are swaying in the high regions
to drink from the well of the Almighty King consist of tones only, dismantled of words."

A melody with text is, to his mind, limited to time,
because with the conclusion of the words the melody also comes to an end,
whereas a tune without words can be repeated endlessly.
As a result of this attitude, most Chassidic tunes are sung without words.
Abraham Z. Idelsohn, Jewish Music – Its Historical Development

The belief in the power of music as prayer moved me to compose "Prayers Without Words."
In Judaism, the name of God is unpronounceable.
The Name is symbolized by vowel sounds, which are not notated in Hebrew writing.
"Prayers Without Words" are based on vowel sounds.
They start with the dark sound of "U" and open up progressively
from movement to movement to "Oh", "Ay", "Ee" and "Ah".
Each movement ends in a transitional diphthong.
The last "EA" (YA) is the second of ten Holy Names according to the
Jewish mystical cabbalistic teachings.
(Papus, La Cabbale, Paris 1903).

This work serves ideally as a supplement in performances of classical sacred music.
It becomes especially luminous and transparent when performed on classical period instruments.

"Prayers Without Words" can be performed with or without choir depending on the occasion.
The choir parts are not difficult to learn and are supported by the orchestration.
Leading the prayers are two solo violins.

This work is basically an expression of joy but also of spiritual longing.

Live Recording:

Festivalchor des Schwarzwald Musikfestivals

Mark Mast, Leitung

Aufnahmedatum: 5. Mai 2006,

Evangelische Stadtkirche Freudenstadt

Schwarzwaldfestival Chor
Kammerorchester: L'Arpa Festante
Violinsolists: Christoph Hesse, Michael Gusenbauer
Conductor: Mark Mast

1. 2:30
2. 2:58
3. 2:20
4. 2:48
5. 3:17

CD available through triptychon
Reihe Schwarzwald Musikfestival - Live Edition
Laurence Traiger. Prayers without words
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Grosse Messe in c-Moll, KV 428

SMF Mozart / Traiger

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