Completed in 1967, “Themes from the Old Testament” is a suite of ten short pieces originally intended as music for a film to be made on Saul Field's portfolio of prints bearing the same title. Since the film was never made, the music is usually presented with slides of Field's prints. The ten pieces, corresponding to the ten prints in Field's portfolio are: Joseph, Jezebel, Exodus, Tamat, Saul and David, Rahab, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Uriah, Lot's Wife, and the Parable of the Trees. While each section is conceived as a small form in itself, with its own distinct musical material, certain themes are used in similar or modified form in several sections. For instance, the cruelty, murder, or madness that is a part of the stories of Joseph, Jezebel, Saul and David, Uriah, and the Parable, is signified by a quarter-tone, sinetone sequence that recurs in these sections. Similarly a soprano voice melody appears in several of the stories involving women. The scale used in these voice melodies is from an ancient Hebrew chant. This chant melody appears as the principal material in the Exodus section. PP
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