The story of queen Esther, who saved the Persian Jewish community from death, inspired many writers ( Racine), painters (Boticcelli, Véronèse...) and musicians (Moreau , Haendel, Lidarti, Milhaud...). In Jewish communities, this holiday is celebrated under the name « Purim » which means in Persian (lots, fate, spells...). During a meeting between king Asuerus and his counsellors –among them the famous evil Aman- the 14th Adar has been randomly chosen to kill all Persian Jews.
This story, which is written in Esther’s manuscript (Meguilat Esther), is sang during the evening service of Purim, before having a big meal with alcohol. Purim is also a carnaval-like holiday. It is traditional to dress up, to sing, mime or do theater parodies (Purim-Shpil in Ashkenazi communities). Purim is also one of these rare holidays where music is not just authorized, but strongly encouraged.
This radio show, supervized by cantor and Rabbi Jacques Arnold, offers a unique musical vision of this holiday : readings of Meguilat Esther in different traditions, folkloric and children’s songs, Purim-Shpils and art music works, such as Esther’s oratorio (1774) by Lidarti.
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