Dissertation Index

Author: Fishbein, Joshua H.

Title: Leonard Bernstein\'s Chichester Psalms: An Analysis and Companion Piece

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

Begun: September 2010

Completed: December 2014


There are two parts to this dissertation: the first is an analytical monograph, and the second a music composition, both of which are described below.

Part One (Analytical Monograph):
In his composition, Chichester Psalms for choir, solo treble, and orchestra, Leonard Bernstein assembles excerpts in Hebrew from the Book of Psalms to narrate a story of conflict and resolution. Bernstein develops his narrative musically by foreshadowing, summarizing, and dramatizing conflict. Specifically, he alludes to key areas in advance of their arrival by manipulating sequential repetition, melodic contour, and ambiguous harmonies. He concisely restates the music he has already presented in an eclectic juxtaposition of keys, textures, and themes. Finally, the composer dramatizes conflict by exploring distant keys at the micro and macro levels. The musical application of these devices is notable for the way that it illuminates the meaning of the text.

Part Two (Music Composition):
Using Bernstein’s music as inspiration, I composed an original Judeo-Christian interfaith companion to Chichester Psalms, titled Psalms, Songs, and Blues. In five movements, this piece sets both Psalm excerpts and portions of the Jewish liturgy in English, Hebrew, and Latin, for cantor (baritone), SATB chorus, and orchestra. Scored for the same orchestration as Chichester Psalms, my work is designed to complement Bernstein’s for performance on the same concert program.

Keywords: Bernstein, Chichester Psalms, foreshadowing, summary, conflict, key areas, sequence, juxtaposition, companion, Judeo-Christian


Part One (Analytical Monograph):
I. Foreshadowing
II. Summary
III. Conflict

Part Two (Music Composition):
I. Hear My Prayer/Sh\'ma Koleinu/Exaudi Vocem Meam
II. S\'lach Lanu Avinu
III. Timor et Tremor
IV. Al Naharot Bavel/Super Flumina Babylonis
V. Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is



     Return to dissertations