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Songs of Ascents

Psalm 120 (Ani Shalom) -  by Larry NickelHome.htmlCompositions.htmlRequiem.htmlCDs.htmlRadio.htmlhttp://cypresschoral.com/Composers/Home.htmlBio.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4shapeimage_2_link_5shapeimage_2_link_6
 

presented here by Dr. Ray Harris (tenor); Dr. Betty Suderman (piano) and Dr. Cal Dyck (violin)

Psalms 120-134 form a collection of Psalms known as the "Songs of Ascents."  They are also referred to as the "Songs of Degrees," "Pilgrim Psalms," or "Gradual Psalms."  There are various theories offered to explain the origin of this collection.  The Mishnah, (the first written recording of the oral Torah), connects the fifteen Psalms with the fifteen steps of the Temple where the Levites sang these Psalms.  Most scholars agree that these are likely to be songs that were sung by the pilgrims as they were journeying to Jerusalem for the three great feasts, thus they were ascending to Jerusalem. One person would begin the Psalm and then others would respond antiphonally.   Arriving at the Temple, Priests would stand on the bottom step of the temple and sing the first Psalm of Ascents, then the group of pilgrims would move up a step and sing the next Psalm, etc. until reaching the top of the stairs and the front gate.

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