Women of Valor
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Stunning new oratorio by Andrea Clearfield given a magnificent performance by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.

Women of Valor, an oratorio, is a celebration of women from the Old Testament, inspired by a midrash (biblical commentary) on Proverbs, where each line of the biblical text from Proverbs 31 represents a strong, resourceful woman. Texts for Women of Valor are drawn both from the Bible and from modern poems and prose. Women of Valor highlights the stories of Sarah, Leah, Rachel, Jocheved, Miriam, Hannah, Jael, Michal, Ruth, and Esther. The work was premiered in 2000 by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony conducted by Noreen Green. Composer Andrea Clearfield's music has been praised by the New York Times for its "graceful tracery and lively, rhythmically vital writing" and the Los Angeles Times for its "fluid and glistening orchestration." Her awards include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts as well as fellowships at the American Academy in Rome, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller foundation's Bellagio Center, among many others. The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony is the only orchestra outside of Israel dedicated to the performance and preservation of orchestral works of distinction that explore the Jewish experience. Founded in 1994 by Noreen Green the LAJS has presented more than 20 world premieres of works by contemporary Jewish composers.
Andrea Clearfield, composer
Women of Valor
Tovah Feldshuh, narrator; Hila Plitmann, soprano; Rinat Shaham, mezzo-soprano; Los Angeles Jewish Symphony; Noreen Green, conductor

"Taking biblical text as narrative for recitatives and poetry by contemporary Jewish women for the arias, the hole presenting an interpretation of Proverbs 31 in terms of a biblical woman's story, Andrea Clearfield has constructed a major work, an oratorio for soprano, mezzo, narrator, and orchestra that celebrates "women of valor."…The soloists are excellent. Soprano Hila Plitmann and mezzo Rinat Shaham have voices that ideally complement each other…Clearfield's scoring is remarkable at times; try the highly atmospheric recitative "She rises while it is still night" or the incredibly skillful contrapuntal brass writing …Yet she can write with an almost Mahlerian weight for strings, too…Green's direction is faultless, in both accompanyng her singers and in having a clear long-range vision of the work. The recording is of the very highest standard.…" (Fanfare)
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