program notes by composition > J > Jericho Rhapsody

Jericho Rhapsody

Morton Gould

Jericho Rhapsody describes the siege and destruction of Jericho around 1500 B.C. According to the Old Testament, the Israelites, following orders from the Lord, circled their enemy’s walled city once each day for six days, quiet except for the continuous blowing of rams horns by seven priests. At daybreak on the seventh day they circled seven times blowing horns. Then when Joshua gave the command, all the Israelites raised a tremendous shout and Jericho’s wall collapsed. The city fell and its inhabitants were put to the sword.

A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality. This rhapsody includes "Prologue", "Roll Call", "Chant", "Dance", "March and Battle", "Joshua’s Trumpets", "The Walls Came Tumblin’ Down" (built on the traditional Negro Spiritual hymn) and a victorious "Hallelujah".

Morton Gould (1913-1996) was an American pianist, composer, conductor, and arranger. Born in Richmond Hill, New York, he was a child prodigy with abilities in improvisation and composition. He played piano in movie theaters as well as with vaudeville acts. He became staff pianist at Radio City Music Hall at age 18 and soon led an orchestra on the Mutual radio network. He conducted and wrote for Broadway, film, television, ballet, chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras.

Last updated on November 17, 2022 by Palatine Concert Band