Ochila laEil (1999), transliterated text and translation


ochila laEil; achaleh fanav.

eshala mimehnu maanei lashon,

asher bik’hal am ashira uzo,

abia r’nanot b’ad mifalav.

laadam maarchei leiv, umeiadonai,

maanei lashon.

Adonai, s’fatai tiftach

ufi yagid t’hilatecha.

yih’yu l’ratson imrei fi v’hegyon libi l’fanecha,

Adonai, tsuri, v’goali.


I place my hope in God; I pray for His compassion.

I ask of Him the gift of expression (fitness of speech),

that here amidst His flock I might sing the praises of His power,

chant songs of joy in His works.

man’s thoughts are his own, but the gift of expression

comes from God.

Open my mouth, O Lord,

that my lips may proclaim your praise.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to


O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.



Wedding Motet: Tota pulchra es/Set me as a seal upon thine heart

Wedding Motet was composed in celebration of my marriage to Susan Orzel, and is dedicated to her with all my love. The Choir of All Saints Church, New York City, under the direction of Dr. Gail Archer, gave the work its premiere at our wedding on January 16, 1999. The texts are biblical, from the Song of Songs, in Latin and English.


Texts and translation:


Tota pulchra es, amica mea, et macula non est in te.

(You are all beautiful, my love, and there is no flaw in you.)


Vox dilecti mei, en dilectus meus loquitur mihi:

(The voice of my beloved! Behold, my beloved speaks to me:)


Surge, amica mea.

(Arise, my love.)


Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm:

For love is strong as death: jealousy is cruel as the grave.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.



When you are reminded by the instruments


From A Song for Occupations


All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it,

(Did you think it was in the white or gray stone? Or the lines

       of the arches and cornices?)

All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded

       by the instruments,

It is not the violins and the cornets, it is not the oboe nor the

       beating drums, nor the score of the baritone

       singer singing his sweet romanza, nor that of the

       men’s chorus, nor that of the women’s


It is nearer and farther than they.


—Walt Whitman



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