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The Old Testament in Music

The Old Testament in Music


The Old Testament has been a profound source of musical creativity over the ages. It has inspired musical works ranging from the Passion plays of the Middle Ages to the folk and even rock music of today. The Old Testament itself contains all forms of literature - poetry, epic, prayer, drama, philosophy and prophecy.

The artists who have found the Scriptures to be a fountain of ideas are of 44 different nationalities and they form a long and impressive list. Besides such notables as Bach, Haydn and Liszt, also Peter Abaelard of Medieval France, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, Charles Baudelaire, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Lord Byron, Thomas Mann, Alexei Tolstoi, and Stefan Zwieg have all tapped their Bibles for inspiration.

"The Old Testament in Music", a major work by distinquished Israeli musicologist Moshe Gorali, is an extensive and beautifully designed anthology of more than 5,000 musical pieces spanning the last thousand years.

The book appears in a hard-cover volume of exquisite large format. It begins with a survey of the various versions of the Old Testament, from early Hebrew manuscripts, reaching up to its contemporary printed translations from a variety of countries. The reader is given a list of the books of the Bible in ten languages in addition to a list of the men and women whose lives it depicts. Key stories and themes, poems and words of wisdom from Genesis to Nehemiah are highlighted, all of which have deeply affected librettists and composers.

An index of the artists whose libretti appear in the musical pieces, as well as a reference list of Biblical personages and subjects, provide handy access to the main chapters of the book.

The six distinctive musical forms which have been inspired by the Bible comprise the heart of Moshe Gorali's comprehensive work. Each of these - liturgical and mystery plays of the Middle Ages, oratorios from the Baroque Era, operas, vocal and instrumental music, folk songs, and scores from the Book of  Psalms - are accompanied by plots and musical excerpts both in their original language and in English translation. Each form is prefaced by an historical background, and the use of Biblical themes within it is explained.

Not only is "The Old Testament in Music" an excellent reference book for professional musicians, institutions and libraries, it is also a perfect book for music and Bible students, as for anyone with an understanding and love for the Bible and for music.

Size: 23.5 x 31 cm., 9 x 12.5 inches

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