List of Works || Am Yisrael Chai! = Israel Lives

Am Yisrael Chai! = Israel Lives (1952)

SATB, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Choir, Piano

Duration: 5 minutes 30 seconds

First Performance: 12 February 1953, Toronto; Jewish Music Festival Combined Choirs of Six Synagogues/ Gordon Kushner

Commissioned by the Canadian Jewish Congress, Israel Lives! uses a Yiddish text by Polish-born American poet Malka Lee (1904-1976), whose Zionist devotion comes through in her words. Together with his Cello Sonata “Israel” (1949) and Dance of Masada (1951), which was also commissioned by the Canadian Jewish Congress, Israel Lives! expresses the joy and hope for the then-new state of Israel and the resiliency of the Jewish people.

Prior to Israel Lives!, Weinzweig had written only one choral work: To the Lands Over Yonder (1945). While that first choral work and his 1980s “ choral album” typically employ lean textures, Israel Lives! includes full, expansive textures. The rhythmic vitality is characteristic of Weinzweig’s music, and it depicts the text reference to Moses’ sister, the prophetess Miriam, who sang and danced with her tambourine as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. Weinzweig builds towards a climatic ending with imitative statements of the refrain “Israel Lives!”

Written by Alexa Woloshyn