This page will link you to the full score of Baruch Skeer's "Eight Days of Chanukah", completed in 1987.
The text for "Eight Days of Chanukah" is from the Shemoneh Esrei, comprising the only religious Hebrew text, other than the candle-lighting prayers and "Ma'oz Tzur," associated with the holiday (the Book of Maccabees survives only in Greek). The composer has broken the text into eight phrases and distributed it amongst an SSAATTBB chorus in a way that recalls the lighting of the eight menorah candles. A graphic score, which could be used as a coloring book, was also created.
The piece was composed in 1987 for use by amateur choruses seeking balance on Holiday Season concert programs. A limited edition of ten signed scores was created, with some copies going to the composer's two neices and nephew (by his first marriage). As traditional, a single page of the score could be given on each of the "Eight Days of Chanukah." The music has never been performed.
Only nine measures long but taking 12 minutes to perform, the challenge was to write 8 melodies which stood by themselves as proper settings of the text, yet fit together in an interesting, attractive and surprising way. The piece lives in D minor, but ends in D major. A Jewish-flavored exoticism pervades most of the melodies. Also of interest is how each melody uses syncopation to fill in gaps left by the other melodies.
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