Music > Rachel Galinne > Selected Works > A New Prayer - Tefila Chadasha (2014)

A New Prayer - Tefila Chadasha (2014)

In this piece for soprano, violin, cello and piano the text is built on quotations from the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) prayer book. It is a prayer where the congregation is requesting forgiveness of the Lord for our sins and transgressions so that the next year will be a good and pleasant one for us, devoid of the tragedies of war or poverty.

The first paragraph, "the resurrection of the dead'', is interpreted by the composer as "the resurrection of the almost-dead". This blessing is readc as a prayer for survival. It is recited several times during the Day of Atonement but here it is associated with the central prayer, called Mussaf, which is recited in the middle of the day.

We continue with the Mussaf prayer and reach one of most fateful and dramatic points of the liturgy, "U-netaneh Tokef" in which our fate in the coming year is sealed. The Lord decides "who will live and who will die… who by water and who by fire". In this section we can feel echoes from the Holocaust.

The third and last prayer from the Mussaf is taken from the service in the Temple where the High Priest is praying on behalf of all the House of Israel and he is asking for the forgiving of all the iniquities and sins of the people as a whole. The composer is connecting this request with modern times and with the social injustice and poverty in our present-day Israel.

And it is here where a musical as well as textual turning point takes place and we find ourselves at the end of the prayer, the Ne'ila. The Lord is described as merciful and pardoning, accepting the supplication of the people.

The last section, to the words "I have forgiven as you asked", is set with very optimistic music when we are all approaching the end of the day and we begin to feel relieved after a difficult twenty-four hours of fasting and intensive prayer. 

The music in the piece can be described as a journey from darkness and pessimism undergoing a development from extreme modernism in the first three sections, until light is shed as we reach the text of mercy and pardoning. Here we hear a change of musical style which isn't modernistic anymore but rather of a traditional style, towards Baroque and Classical style.

The last section is a coloratura aria in the atmosphere of the Gloria from the catholic mass, which has inspired the composer throughout the years.