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Shemot: An oratorio

Rafael Mevorach, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


I have composed an oratorio for orchestra, choir and vocal soloists, titled "Shemot." It is based on the Jewish Bible Book of Exodus with the libretto in the Hebrew language. ^ While the text is based on certain sections of the Book of Exodus, it does consist of direct quotations. Rather, it is my own paraphrase of the original text. The source for my libretto is "The Living Torah," translated and based on traditional Jewish sources, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (New York: Maznaim Publishing Corporation, 1981). The full text follows in Appendix A, in English with the Hebrew transliteration. ^ The vocal forces include a mixed choir (SATB) ideally of between 80-100 voices and three soloists. The will sing the roles of God, Moses and Pharaoh. Their ranges are as follows: (1) God - Soprano; (2) Moses - Tenor; (3) Pharaoh - Bass-baritone. ^ The text covers the story of the Israelite Exodus, from a recitation of the ten plagues through the cross on the Sea of Reeds.* The text is continuous throughout a single movement with a duration of approximately forty minutes. ^ *"Sea of Reeds," according to modern Jewish scholars, is the proper identification for the former "Red Sea" which was a translator's error, occurring when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Music

Recommended Citation

Mevorach, Rafael, "Shemot: An oratorio" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3212716.