Works Vocal Silhouette (Galilee) (1951)


Bernstein wrote this piece in honor of the forty-first birthday of his friend mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel. The song incorporates an old Lebanese folksong, the Arabic words of which are paraphrased in the lyrics: “The boys in the dark olive groves assemble.” Bernstein can be heard singing this tune in the 1967 film Journey to Jerusalem.


Text by Leonard Bernstein, after a Lebanese folksong
A last little bird on a palm feather riding,
Black and clean in the afterglow.
A lone little girl in the olive grove hiding,
Crooning soft as the sun sinks low: oo, oo,
Hu! ‘rrfah!
An old little jeep through the mountains crawling,
Tough and tiny against the sun,
A young Arab shepherd upon his knees falling,
Allah, Allah, the day is done, ee,ee, ee,
Hee! ‘rrfah!
The boys in the dark olive groves assemble,
Hand in hand in a dancing ring,
Their eyes to the sun, and their lips atremble,
Drunk with love and the chant they sing:
Walad ela ‘Una, Norkod taht el zetuna!
Ah! Ha! ‘rrfah

By Jack Gottlieb

Related Works
Psalm 148
Bridal Suite
Halil: Nocturne
Simchu Na
Vayomer Elohim
Four Sabras


(1951) 2 min
Leonard Bernstein, incorporating an Arabic folk song
World Premiere:
February 13, 1955. Katherine Hanse, soprano and Evelyn Swarthout, piano / National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
for voice and piano


Silhouette (Galilee)
(1951, orch. 1995) 2 min
for voice and orchestra
orchestrated by Sid Ramin

  • Text: Leonard Bernstein, incorporating an Arabic folk song
  • Scoring:
Purchasing Licensing Information

To perform Silhouette (Galilee), please contact Boosey & Hawkes. For general licensing inquiries, click here.

To purchase sheet music for Silhouette (Galilee), please visit our store.


Jennie Tourel and Leonard Bernstein
Ralph Morse Ralph Morse

Silhouette · Angelina Reaux
℗ 2003 Milken Family Foundation ℗ 2003 Milken Family Foundation

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