Sacred Sunday: Steve Reich, “Tehillim (Parts I and II)”


Tehillim, pronounced “the-hill-leem,” are psalms.  Reich wrote these pieces in 1981.  The words of part one are taken from Psalm 19:1-4: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheath his handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheath knowledge.”  The second part, which begins at 11:31, is Psalm 34:13-15, whose words are: “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.”

These pieces just make me so very happy.  If you’d like to know more about this music, this is a really interesting interview with Reich about the Tehillim in which he talks about what it was that caused him to compose these pieces.  It’s wonderful.


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