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  1. So, one of my favorite current contemporary composers is Jonathan Leshnoff. He is jewish. He was born in New Jersey and now resides in Baltimore. He is an extremely prolific composer. For example, he will have written 3 full symphonies within a 2-3 year period among other things written during the same period. I originally saw his premiere of his short orchestral piece called Starburst and it has become a favorite. Another favorite of his of mine is his Violin Concerto. It is extremely beautiful. I am highlighting him in attempts to bring note to him because I believe in his genius. I don't believe many people on this forum would know of him and his music and I think that is a shame and an opportunity to share. In particular I would like to highlight one of his recent pieces. It is his Zohar Oratorio for Symphony, Chorus, Soprano and Baritone/Tenor. It was commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Carnegie Hall Corporation. The first performance was by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall just back in April 2016. So, it is a brand new piece, but it already has been recorded and released on CD. It is written in 6 parts. It starts with a fast and rambunctious choral/symphonic movement followed by a movement featuring a soprano solo. The third movement is another full chorus movement and it is followed by a tenor solo movement. The fifth movement reiterates the main themes of the first movement. The 6th movement is a very short choral movement that goes back and features the brilliant Jessica Rivera that is unbelievably gorgeous. It gives her a short few phrases before the chorus takes over and fades out to the end. I believe this piece is instant classic choral repertoire. His writing for the full chorus is astounding. The movement featuring the soprano Jessica Rivera ranks amongst other top choral literature from the span of time of developed western music. It is hauntingly gorgeous. The soprano lines sore and pierce your being while the chorus just sends it over the top. The 4th movement written for Baritone Nmon Ford is also hauntingly gorgeous and dramatic and passionate. It is fantastic! It is a very interesting piece written about mystic judaism and the Kabbalah. The majority of the text of the 3rd movement is the reciting of the hebrew alphabet. A lot of the other text comes straight from the books of the Zohar. I definitely believe in this piece. I believe of all of the fantastic music coming out in the last decade that it stands out as a unique piece of music from a unique composer. It stands out as a highlight in choral writing and even in symphonic writing. This is the kind of thing I love seeing in the music I hear today. The fact that we have music being written with as much passion, lyricism, beauty, tonality, direction, but still manages an innovation of new ideas and sounds really excites me. I hope you like it as much as I do.
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