Shir Hashirim, Op. 5

Prelude and Chant on the First Section of "The Song of Songs"

page one of Shir Hashirim, Op. 5

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Full details

Audio recording of the First Movement available on YouTube and SoundCloud.
Audio recording of the Second Movement available on YouTube and SoundCloud

Shir Hashirim, The Song of Songs, is one of the most beautiful Jewish poems in universal literature. These moving verses of an unknown author –although they are traditionally attributed to Solomon– are a depiction of love, that energy that flows with freshness through the words and through life itself. Love can be perceived as an ardent eros of the body and as a profound agape of the spirit, as the ecstasy that binds two lovers together and as the sacred passion of the soul when it’s connected to the Divine.

This poem is divided into six chants –plus a prelude and a postlude–, in which the author reflects about the different stages of human love. This piece sets to music the Hebrew version of the Prelude and the first Chant, The Beginning of Love, and it is built based on musical ideas derived from Middle Eastern timbres, rhythms, and scales. The Hebrew language was chosen to minimize the amount of translations of the text, seeking a closer version of the original meaning of the poem. The performers don’t need to know the language, since the composer used a transliteration of Hebrew in Latin alphabet to facilitate the pronunciation.

The vocal part has a starring role in this piece, because, just as love, singing is a natural faculty that emerges from the human being’s most inner self. The human voice’s possibilities of timbre were explored, thinking of it as an instrument of staggering perfection, capable of a great variety of vocalizations and sound effects beyond the mere melodic declamation of a text. For that purpose, this piece uses symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet in order to achieve a higher precision of notation.

Copyright © 2016 Daniel Cuéllar-Trujillo. All rights reserved.
This work is registered with Registration ID: 2107838

Score ID
Year of composition
King Solomon (attributed); Cnt. 1.2 - 2.6
Difficult (Grades 7+)
18 minutes
Choir + orchestra
World music

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