Leshana Haba’a BiYerushalayim

A lively setting of the Hebrew folksong — with only three words to learn!, and which means “next year in Jerusalem” — the a cappella arrangement begins with newly-composed material for two soloists, who “call” back and forth, expressing the yearning of the dispersed community for reunion.

This score is published by Boosey & Hawkes. Press “Order Score” or click here to view and listen.

Available as: SSA a cappella



Folksongs, passed from singer to singer through the oral tradition, often exhibit wide variation in their still-recognizable melodies.  I learned this version of “Leshana haba’a” years ago from my friend Deborah Morris, from whom I learned a number of gems from the world’s folk music traditions during the year I spent as a volunteer at Gould Farm in Massachusetts.

This arrangement, structured to expresses the dispersed Jewish community’s hope for reunion “next year in Jerusalem,” is comprised of two materials: a newly-composed, sorrowful theme, expressive of unrequited longing, and the traditional folksong itself, lively with excitement and hope.  The piece begins with the soloists’ lament – singing as if across great distances to their far-flung kin.  But out of sorrow, hope arises in the form of the traditional song, sung slowly at first, then faster.  After a brief return to the opening theme, sung again by the soloists in close canon, the folksong rises at a fast clip to a rousing, flourishing culmination, expressing the joy of eventual reunion.

Commissioned by the 2011 ACDA Women’s Choir R & S Commissioning Consortium, chaired by Iris S. Levine.

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