Sea of Reeds

for two clarinets, (optional flute and clarinet) and piano (2009)

Score and Parts

Five Hebrew Songs

by Gerald Cohen


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Perusal Score



15 min


November 2009, Grneta Ensemble, Juilliard School, New York, NY.


clarinet, piano, (opt flute)


Hariu Ladonai
Adonai Ro’i Lo Echsar
Dodi Li Vaani Lo

Program Notes

The composition Sea of Reeds is a set of arrangements of five of my Jewish liturgical songs; the original version of these arrangements were written for the Grneta Ensemble, (Vasko Dukovski, clarinet; Ismail Lumanovski, clarinet; Alexandra Joan, piano) with a premiere by them in New York City in November 2009. I work in two musical words which frequently intersect—those as a composer and cantor. I often write music for Jewish services, or concert music based on Jewish texts. It was a delight to write these arrangements for clarinet duo and piano, and to see these songs transformed into instrumental chamber music that stand on their own, freed from their original vocal and textual aspects.

Hariu Ladonai is a setting of the joyous Psalm 100, a psalm of thanksgiving which asks all the earth to give a “shout of joy” in praise of God. Adonai Ro’i Lo Echsar is based on Psalm 23, one of the most famous of the Psalms—“The Lord is my Shepherd”—which is often used as a consolation for those in mourning. Dodi Li Vaani Lo, originally for chorus, is a setting of selections from the Song of Songs, the Biblical poem celebrating romantic and physical love. Y’varech’cha comes from a song—originally written for the birth of our son—using the words said as a blessing from parents to children at the beginning of the Sabbath celebration. Dayeinu, also from a choral piece, is based on one of the most famous sections of the Passover Haggadah—a song of thanks to God for deliverance from slavery to freedom.

This piece has been recorded by the Grneta Ensemble on SEA OF REEDS (Navona Records), an album of my chamber music compositions featuring the clarinet. Information on the album can be found on my website, – Gerald Cohen