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Ever since that crucifixion took place on Golgotha, outside of Jerusalem, in 33CE, the victim has been Romanized, theologized, even socialized into invisibility. But the original Hebrew texts and the four Gospels witness to what happened: the ignominious death of a Jewish teacher, Yeshuva, believed to have been the Messiah.

Questions, if asked today, still ponder the depths of this person, still recoil from

the revolutionary nature of his teaching that fired the hearts of his listeners toward radical change. First-century Judea, like or own was corrupted by materialism, secularism, and hedonism; similarly, the gap between the affluent and starving still persists.

Yet, into this morass comes an oratorio, The Passion of Yeshuva (2017), composed by the Persian-American Richard Danielpour. It was time: Yeshuva would not keep silence, having nudged this artist, years before, to present the last day of his life in all his Jewishness. In thirty-seven days, its first draft was composed. That was in 2014. Central to the narrative are the voices of Yeshuva’s Mother and Mary of Magdela.

Continued revision of the Hebrew scriptures and English amalgams from the gospels and the selection of two choruses and five soloists filled out the years until its premier in 2019 by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The CD was released the following year and nominated for three Grammy Awards at tonight’s presentation: Best Engineered Album, Choral performance, and Contemporary Classical Composition.

However, such acclamation falls short of the substance of Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshuva. Within the oratorio, Yeshuva speaks. I’m still shivering …

Available on Amazon

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