The Competition

2017 saw the launch of the Liberal Judaism Music Composition Competition to showcase the best new, home-grown, music.

All entries were judged by a cross-communal panel, with a select few awarded a prize and performed at next year’s Day of Celebration. Where possible, all other entries will be recorded and made available to Liberal Jewish congregations. The entry requirements are:

• Must have Jewish content, for example an adaptation of a current prayer or text, or be inspired by Jewish tradition.
• Must be between one and five minutes.
• Must be submitted in full musical notation, with a recording if possible (we can help with this).
• Must be accompanied by no more than 300 words describing the inspiration behind the composition.
• Does not necessarily have to use a voice, but please consider the practical ‘performability’ of the piece.
• The composer must be a member of a Liberal Jewish community.

The Winning Composition

Mazal tov to Phyillis Alden from Manchester Liberal Jewish Community who won the 2017 competition with her 4 part composition of the Aleinu.

Phyllis explained why she chose the Aleinu and the process of creating her entry:
I love this prayer. The words are haunting and inspiring and affirming of faith and one day, as I was reading them I found myself singing the opening bars of the melody. Initially the rest did not flow but over time, every time it was read rather than sung, I heard a bit more until it was finally complete. I can truly say that the melody literally floated into my head. As I had decided to enter it into the Liberal Judaism competition, I needed some help transforming it from my head to sheet music. My singing teacher’s partner is a composer and was happy to help. We both thought it would lend itself to a choral arrangement hence our lessons on the music.

Graham Carpenter, the Liberal Judaism Officer for Music, who ran the competition said:
A worthy winner, demonstrating the creativity and musical competence of some of our most veteran arrangers and composers, I look forward to hearing the Aleinu in liberal services everywhere soon!

This version has parts for soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

Click here to download the music.

This version is simpler than the 4 part harmony version.

Click here to download the music.

Many thanks to Rabbi Mark Solomon for filming the performance of the composition at the 2017 Day of Celebration.