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The Chichester Psalms of Leonard Bernstein.jpg

The Chichester Psalms of Leonard Bernstein is a book written by Paul Laird. It was first published in 2009.


A secular work with sacred Hebrew texts and a "hint of Broadway" commissioned by an Anglican cleric for a British choral festival to be held in a medieval cathedral and written by a popular American composer of Jewish heritage in his own eclectic style would certainly attract widespread interest. In fact, since its 1965 premiere, Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein has taken its place in the concert repertory as the most frequently performed piece of twentieth-century American choral music. In his thoughtful study Professor Paul R. Laird traces the unusual genesis of the work from sketches conceived for other projects and describes in detail the musical content of the final form of its three movements. Published for the first time with the author s commentary are the complete correspondence between Dean Walter Hussey and the composer, a survey of published criticism that greeted its first performances on both sides of the Atlantic, and an accounting of emendations to two performance scores in Bernstein's own hand.