V’higad’ta L’vincha (“And you shall tell your child”) was composed in 1996 for the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Barbara Tagg, founder and director, and was commissioned by the Chorus as part of the “Commissioning Music/USA” program of Meet The Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts, with support from the Helen F.Whitaker Fund.
After writing the original treble chorus version, I had wanted to arrange the piece for mixed chorus, and was delighted when Hazzan Steven Berke and Congregation Brith Shalom, of Bellaire,Texas, commissioned me in 1998 to make the arrangement which is published here.
The composition is based on selections from the Haggadah, the central text of the Passover celebration. One of the most significant themes of the Haggadah, emphasized in my choices of text for the piece, is that we all must experience the story of the deliv erance from slavery as if we ourselves had lived through it; we must then tell our chil dren that story so as to pass it down, vividly, from one generation to the next.
The piece begins with a chant-like presentation of the biblical verse instructing all of us to tell our children the story of the Exodus, and then moves, as does the Haggadah, from the oppression of slavery to the joy of deliverance.That joy is expressed especially in the “Dayeinu,” set here as a lively dance, and in the final “L’fichach,” which gives thanks to God in a procession which grows from a quiet beginning to an exuberant conclusion.
A recording on CD of the original version for three-part treble chorus with the Syracuse Children’s Chorus, Barbara Tagg, conductor, appears on Gerald Cohen’s Generations (CRI 879).