Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Antonin Dvorak, David Greenberg, Louis Lewandowski|
Splendor of the High Holydays
Genres: Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Classical
A magnificent liturgical concert, Reform style
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | Minnesota, USA | 09/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This excellent CD of High Holy Days liturgical music is, according to its own liner notes, "somewhat concertized," the goal being to "reflect the profound spiritual journey that takes place in the life of Jews throughout the world during this holy period, and to open this experience, at least on an artistic level, to lovers of music, beauty, and holiness." It should therefore be listened to as if it were a classical concert, rather than actual worship. (This is not a new idea among Jews; in the days before "equal opportunity employment," when Jews were barred from European opera companies, it was not unusual for a gifted cantor to go on tour in the Jewish world, giving concerts of original liturgical music, performed on "secular" days. Such concerts, in turn, gave birth to music which eventually found its way into the regular synagogue services -- as did much of this music.)
The pieces included here come mostly from the Western European (Ashkenazic) tradition, and will be familiar to most Ashkenazic Jews. Much of this music originated in the German Reform movement of the 19th century which, in turn, was strongly influenced by the classical composers. The prominent use of a pipe organ in this concert places it squarely in the "classical Reform" category, i.e., the most "churchlike" of Jewish liturgies. However, I have heard the same tunes sung in synagogues of other denominations, too -- including Orthodox groups that would be absolutely mortified to discover that their "traditional" music is originally Reform! Consider the oh-so-traditional "Kol Nidre" by Louis Lewandowski (included on this CD), who was a Reform composer. It is indeed a tribute to the beauty of this music that it speaks to all kinds of Jews.
The concert itself is beautifully performed, with Stacy Lowe as soprano, Russell Ashley as baritone, Mary Jane Newman as organist and choral director, and Lisa Rautenberg on violin. The CD comes with liner notes by Mary Jane Newman, giving a brief history of Jewish music and some background on the the various composers."