HaMelekh, by Jonathan Leshnoff, is a setting of two chapters from Heichalos Rabasi, an ancient Jewish mystical text almost 2,000 years old, that detail the approach to the presence of the Divine. Each space is a different room (heychal).
The first movement set by the composer, Oso Odom, expresses both the fear and trembling of entering the final room. The cantorial style of first movement is drawn from the Eastern European style. The second, HaMelekh, portrays the effusive joy that comes from standing in the presence of God. This second movement is based on motives from Western European nusach (Jewish chant) but has a distinctly modern character.
Leshnoff worked closely with Hazzan Matthew Klein to capture the cantorial style for these two movements, weaving them both together with his signature harmonic palate and 21st century neo-romantic lyricism.
This work was commissioned by the John Leopold and Martha Delheim Endowment Fund at the Jewish Theological Seminary and by Hazzan Matthew Klein.