The Zamir Chorale has been proud to perform many works by David Burger to include his latest “Martin’s Dream.” His T’filah (LiShlom Medinat Yisrael: Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel), written for the Zamir Chorale in 1975, has become an anthem for the Jewish choral community, and was the first piece in his “Zionist Trilogy,” including settings of HaTikvah (1979) and Megillat HaAtzma’ut (1998). Burger added T’filah L’Tzahal, a prayer for the welfare of the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces, as a commission through the Jeanne R. Mandell Fund, at the request of Elena and Jay Lefkowitz, whose daughter Talia was serving in the IDF in 2012.) Those selections, as well as his numerous settings of Jewish liturgical texts, earned him the Zamir Choral Foundation’s 8th annual Hallel V’Zimrah Award, conferred at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in 2011, and many of his works are collected on the CD Mizmor L’David, recorded by the Zamir Chorale for the occasion.
In January, 2013, the Zamir Chorale added another of Burger’s works to its repertoire when it offered Martin’s Dream, with text from the “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the premiere of its setting for chorus, with piano, flute and cello accompaniment. (The composition was originally conceived for a vocal trio, and continues to feature significant soprano, alto and tenor solos, artfully performed by Cantors Shayna Postman, Ronit Wolff and Joshua Breitzer, all current members of the Zamir Chorale.) Zamir reprised the work in performances at Merkin Concert Hall in May, and at the North American Jewish Choral Festival in July, all leading to the fiftieth anniversary of King’s delivery during the March on Washington in August, 1963.
Burger described his newest work as “a long time coming.” He was a young teenager during the height of the civil rights movement, and spent time in Jackson, Mississippi just a week before King’s speech was delivered. In 1964, he was with a close friend of Andrew Goodman when they heard about the young freedom fighter’s murder. Goodman was only one of the Jewish names that would be indelibly linked with the civil rights movement; Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel was the most famous. But their active involvement was based on their commitment to the dignity of every human being, a value enshrined in Jewish tradition, and quoted by King in his famous address: “ Let justice roll down like the waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:14).
To hear this impressive work performed by the Zamir Chorale, click here: http://youtu.be/djpASrrtnTM