Posts Tagged ‘music’

 

I Want to Die on the Trail

Posted on: June 22nd, 2022 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer fantasy envisioning my death. G-d willing, it will be some time from now. I’m not ill, but of the age to begin preparing for the journey. I hadn’t envisioned this as a song, until I heard Michael Miller singing during a Jewish Songwriting Cooperative Retreat led by Sue Radner Horowitz, my collaborator on “Hallel in a Minor Key.” As soon as I heard him, this poem-now-a-song seemed written for his voice and composing skills. Listen to his album “Shelter” on Spotify. Here are the lyrics and an unfinished cut of Michael singing and playing piano for his music to “I Want to Die on the Trail.”

I Want to Die on the Trail

(Lyrics by Alden Solovy, Music by Michael Miller)

I want to die on the trail,
Surrounded by everyone I’ve ever loved,
Everyone who has ever loved me.
My body old and frail,
Barely containing what remains,
My soul unbound from the limits of time and space.

We will walk together into the canyon,
Descending to the river,
Strong in love.
The air warm, the breeze cool,
The sky more deeply blue than ever.

The sound of water falling on water
Getting closer as we move toward the stream bed.
Our host of companions multiplying.
Confession and forgiveness irrelevant
In the flow of love and affection.

I want to die on the trail,
Diving off the cliff’s edge into the unknown,
Singing, dancing, celebrating, embracing,
Loving the life that was once mine,
Blessing you for allowing my path,
However briefly,
To be one with yours.

Lyrics © 2022 Alden Solovy, Music © 2022 Michael Miller

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul, This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Photo by Alden Solovy

So My Soul May Sing

Posted on: September 15th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Repentance frees the soul. Then, we can sing to G-d with complete joy. This music debuted at S’lichot Services at Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, in 2017 and was released this week as a music video for this year’s Yamim Nora’im. The Hebrew is from Psalm 30. “So that my soul may sing hymns to you endlessly, Adonai my God, I will thank you forever (Psalm 30:13).” The video features the composers, Cantor Erin Frankel and AJ Luca.

So My Soul May Sing
Lyrics: Alden Solovy
Music: Cantor Erin Frankel, AJ Luca

What we hope
What we dream,
Our dearest prayers,
Can’t be broken.

What we deny,
What we discard,
Our deepest fears,
Can’t be spoken.

But our love,
And our joy,
With our hearts,
Can be woken…

To You, to You, to You.

,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
.יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ

L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
Adonai Elohai L’o-lam O-de-ka.

Let Your love,
And Your joy,
From Your heart,
Be my emotion

So my soul
And my voice
Will rise up
To be spoken.

To You, to You, to You.

,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
.יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ

L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
Adonai Elohai L’o-lam O-de-ka.

So the weight
Of these wrongs
That I’ve done
Won’t define me.

While the pain
Of these sins
That I recall
Won’t confine me.

,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
.יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ

L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
Adonai Elohai L’o-lam O-de-ka.

What we hope,
What we dream,
Our dearest prayers,
Can’t be broken.

Lyrics © 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Music © 2017 Erin Frankel and AJ Luca. All rights reserved.

Postscript: With my deep love and affection for Erin and AJ. In friendship with the clergy team at Congregation Rodeph Shalom — Erin, Rabbi Jill Maderer and Rabbi Eli Freedman — and gratitude for their ongoing support of my work. In appreciation of the Lee Stanley Music Fund for making the music and the video possible.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Congregation Rodeph Shalom

I Sing

Posted on: January 7th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A prayer about song in honor of the amazing musicians filling the world with new Jewish music. The format — 6x6x3, six lines of six words in three stanzas — is inspired by the Facebook group I created where people share their Six Word Prayers. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

I Sing
I sing because G-d made music,
To lift our hearts and souls
From the hollow depths of darkness
To the highest heights of heaven,
From the cold shadows of desire
To the gates of radiant hope.

I sing because G-d made music,
To mark the moments of wonder,
To sanctify the moments of sorrow,
To soothe, to comfort, to gladden,
To cradle us with infinite harmony,
To rock us with eternal love.

I sing because G-d made music,
To give our souls a trumpet,
To give our wisdom a tambourine,
To give our prayers a voice,
To make our lives a song,
With the instruments of G-d’s blessings.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Postscript: Other prayers about song include: “We are Music,” “To Hear Me Sing,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: ClipArtLook

Ha’azinu: We Are Music

Posted on: October 14th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

music-notesIn this week’s parasha Ha’azinu (Deut. 22), Moses sings a majestic farewell song, beginning by calling on the heavens to hear. The Haftarah (II Sam. 22:1-51) is David’s Song of Thanksgiving. This prayer/poem is about embodying the music of life, hearing the music created when we move in and out of moments together. This piece appears my forthcoming book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, from CCAR Press.

We Are Music
Quiet now.
Listen.
Breathe.
And listen.

You are music.
Your breath and hands,
Your smile and tears,
Your eyes and pulse,
Are notes that dance
In the space between us.

We are music.
A symphony conducted
By the rhythm of life,
By G-d’s hand,
By our choices, day-by-day.

Our notes play on,
Separately, together,
The sacred sound of living.
Our music waltzes,
Making melodies fresh and new,
Never heard again,
Bass lines that pulse from our hearts
To the Soul of the Universe.

Joy bends sorrow.
Sorrow bends hope.
Hope bends grief.
Grief bends love.
Love bends joy.

Quiet now.
Listen.
Breathe.
And listen.

The silence is your longing.
The silence is your yearning for a different song.
The music of your own will
Blocks your heart to the harmonies
Already dancing around you,
To the chorus already singing around you.

Oh, you hidden delight of heaven.
Oh, you secret gift of G-d.
We are music.
We are music.
The music plays
Through us.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

Postscript: While Moses calls on the heavens to give ear, this meditation calls on us to listen to our own — and to each other’s — hearts. This is my second meditation incorporating instructions to the reader into the prayer. The first is called “Invitations.” Both include this exclamation: “Oh, you hidden delight of heaven. Oh, you secret gift of G-d. Please see also: “Life as a Symphony,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.” This prayer first appeared on this site on Feb. 6, 2013.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Picks and Sticks Music

Sephardi Quarter Note

Posted on: November 2nd, 2014 by Alden No Comments

sephardic-womenThis prayer/poem is about the beauty of Sephardic song. The inspiration came during a class taught by Galeet Darsahsti at OSRUI‘s Shabbat Shira, an annual weekend of creativity, focused on Jewish music. Music is a common theme for me, such as: “For the Gift of Music,” “Sing Hallelujah” and one of my favorites “We are Music.” This appears in my new book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Sephardi Quarter Note
If you listen
To the space between
The notes and the half notes,
The space between heartbeats,
You’ll hear quarter notes of love and yearning,
Ancient music of hope and sorrow,
Infinite in variation,
The echo of generations.
Notes that bend toward G-d.
Notes that linger with longing.
Notes that plead for redemption.
The voice of sorrow
And the voice of laughter.
Notes of surrender.
Notes that refuse to surrender.
Notes that cry out to Zion and Israel.

If you listen
To the space between
The notes and the half notes,
The rises and the falls,
The trills and trumpets,
You will hear a rhythm and a pulse
Calling out:
Adon Olam,
Yedid Nefesh,
Shachar Avakeshcha,
Yodukha Rayonai.
Master of the Universe,
Beloved of my Heart,
At Dawn I Seek You,
My Thoughts will Praise You.”

In the space between the notes,
Dreams of G-d
Touch the core of being
To become music.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers For a New Day

Postscript: Thanks to Galeet for including this prayer/poem in a recent email to her fans, as well as her suggested changes to this piece. More prayers incorporating the theme of music include: “We are Music,” “Life as a Symphony” and “For the Gift of Song.”

Please check out my Meet the Author video and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: BuzzNet/Jewish Art House

Sing Praises

Posted on: October 31st, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

Alden Writing Migdal DavidI wrote this song of praise in about seven minutes while making the Kickstarter film about my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. My videographer wanted a shot of me writing. Pretending to write a prayer felt silly, so I jotted down a few favorite lines, ignored the camera and let it flow. The lines are, essentially, instructions to the reader incorporated into the prayer: quite, breathe, listen. I use those same instructions in two other prayers: “We are Music” and “Invitations.”

Here’s what I wrote during the video. Since then, I’ve changed one word. The rest is exactly as I wrote it in the black moleskin notebook that you can see me using the film. The title came later.

Sing Praises
Quiet now.
Breathe.
Breathe and listen.

Listen to the prayers in the wind.
Listen to the joy on the breeze.
Listen to the hope in the heavens.
For love and life are yours.
Holiness and passion remain.
Wonder and awe
Shimmer from sunset to sunset.

This is the moment where love meets joy,
Where hope meets surrender.

What is that music?
What is that radiance?
What is that yearning?

Quiet now.
Breathe.
Breathe and listen.

Listen to your own voice.
Listen to your own prayers.

This is your power and your peace.
This is your pulse and your heartbeat.
This is your life.

Sing praises,
Sing praises.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Please see also: “We are Music,” “Invitations,” “Life as a Symphony,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.”

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Elahn Zetlin, Chutzpah Media, from my Kickstarter

For the Gift of Music, In Memory of Lou Reed

Posted on: October 28th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

Lou_reedMy prayer “For the Gift of Music,” reposted today in memory of Lou Reed. Here’s a favorite: “A Walk on the Wild Side.” This prayer from my series on creativity, a short and sweet one about music with a different focus than “For the Gift of Song.” That post explains the common structure of these prayers. To listen, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

For the Gift of Music
G-d, we give thanks for the gift of music,
For horn and flute,
For strings and drums,
For crescendo and staccato,
For the gift that gives our spirits a divine voice.
Hear this prayer for those who write music, arranging sound, seeking beauty.
Hear this prayer for those who play music, creating sound, releasing beauty.
Make their music Your vessel.
Let heaven pour joy and sorrow, love and loss through them
So that they overflow with Your most secret prayers for Your people,
Drawing others to Your blessings.
So that when we hear their music
Our souls turn back to You for shelter.
Together, we offer our voices back to heaven,
And rejoice.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer first appeared on May 12, 2010. Please check out the other prayers in this series: “For the Gift of Song,” “For the Gift of Words,” “For the Gift of Dance,” “For the Gift of Art,” “For the Gift of Laughter,” “For the Gift of Torah Scholarship” and “For the Joy of Learning.”

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

We Are Music

Posted on: February 6th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

music-notesThis prayer/poem is about embodying the music of life and hearing the music created when we move in and out of moments together. It’s my second incorporating instructions to the reader into the prayer. The first is called “Invitations.” This appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

We Are Music
Quiet now.
Listen.
Breathe.
And listen.

You are music.
Your breath and hands,
Your smile and tears,
Your eyes and pulse,
Are notes that dance
In the space between us.

We are music.
A symphony conducted
By the rhythm of life,
By G-d’s hand,
By our choices, day-by-day.

Our notes play on,
Separately, together,
The sacred sound of living.
Our music waltzes,
Making melodies fresh and new,
Never heard again,
Bass lines that pulse from our hearts
To the Soul of the Universe.

Joy bends sorrow.
Sorrow bends hope.
Hope bends grief.
Grief bends love.
Love bends joy.

Quiet now.
Listen.
Breathe.
And listen.

The silence is your longing.
The silence is your yearning for a different song.
The music of your own will
Blocks your heart to the harmonies
Already dancing around you,
To the chorus already singing around you.

Oh, you hidden delight of heaven.
Oh, you secret gift of G-d.
We are music.
We are music.
The music plays
Through us.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

Postscript: Please see also: “Life as a Symphony,” “Invitations,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Picks and Sticks Music

Shabbat Shira: For the Gift of Music

Posted on: December 5th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

This is a short and sweet prayer about music reposted today in gratitude for a fantastic weekend at OSRUI, the musical retreat Shabbat Shira. To listen while you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

For the Gift of Music
G-d, we give thanks for the gift of music,
For horn and flute,
For strings and drums,
For crescendo and staccato,
For the gift that gives our spirits a divine voice.
Hear this prayer for those who write music, arranging sound, seeking beauty.
Hear this prayer for those who play music, creating sound, releasing beauty.
Make their music Your vessel.
Let heaven pour joy and sorrow, love and loss through them
So that they overflow with Your most secret prayers for Your people,
Drawing others to Your blessings.
So that when we hear their music
Our souls turn back to You for shelter.
Together, we offer our voices back to heaven,
And rejoice.

Postscript: I also had the pleasure of reading this at an open mike night at Shabbat Shira. It was originally posted on May 12, 2010, and was reposted along with “For the Gift of Song,” in memory of  Debbie Friedman, z”l, on January 9, 2011. My other creativity prayers include: “For the Gift of Dance,” “For the Gift of Art,” “For the Gift of Laughter,” “For the Gift of Words” and “For the Gift of Torah Scholarship.”

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

For notices of new prayers posted here, please subscribe. To read four to six mini-prayers each week, as well as notices of new prayers posted to the site, please join the To Bend Light fan page on Facebook.

Music and Song

Posted on: January 9th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

Here are two prayers — “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music” — reposted in memory of Debbie Friedman, z”l. Her Mi Sheberach got me through the death of my wife. I hope these prayers are a source of meaning and comfort for those of you who knew her, learned from her and sang with her. Even though I can say none of those things, she played a key role in my healing.

For the Gift of Song
G-d, we give thanks for the gift of song,
For the gift of melody and harmony,
For the gift of voices quilted together in chorus,
Lifting praises toward the holy realms.
Hear this prayer for those who chant in Your Name,
Who chant for healing,
Who chant to witness Your love,
Your power,
Your grace.
Make their voices Your vessel.
Let heaven pour joy through them
So that they overflow with Your light,
Drawing others to Your glory.
So that when we hear their song
Our hearts turn back to You in peace.
Together, we offer our prayer back to heaven
And rejoice.

For the Gift of Music
G-d, we give thanks for the gift of music,
For horn and flute,
For strings and drums,
For crescendo and staccato,
For the gift that gives our spirits a divine voice.
Hear this prayer for those who write music, arranging sound, seeking beauty.
Hear this prayer for those who play music, creating sound, releasing beauty.
Make their music Your vessel.
Let heaven pour joy and sorrow, love and loss through them
So that they overflow with Your most secret prayers for Your people,
Drawing others to Your blessings.
So that when we hear their music
Our souls turn back to You for shelter.
Together, we offer our voices back to heaven,
And rejoice.

Postscript: Other prayers for the creative arts include: “For the Gift of Dance,” “For the Gift of Art” and “For the Gift of Laughter.”

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Please use these prayers. See “Share The Prayer!” in the right hand column.

 For notices of new prayers posted here, please subscribe. To read four to six mini-prayers each week, as well as notices of new prayers posted to the site, please join the To Bend Light fan page on Facebook.

“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

“Mesmerizing, spiritual, provocative, and thoughtful, Alden was everything you would want in a guest scholar and teacher.” – Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, Los Angeles, and Past President, CCAR

"Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade…" - Jewish Post & Opinion, March 29, 2023

“Alden left everyone feeling inspired.” – Cantor Jeri Robins, Shabbat Chair, NewCAJE6