Solomon Weintraub (Kashtan)

Cantor and composer
1781-1829

Solomon Weintraub, also known as Solomon "Kashtan" (Russian: chestnut) due to his reddish hair, was born in Konstantinovka (today, Ukraine). As a child, he studied music from his father Shimshon Weintraub, who was also cantor. At age nine, he left to tour and perform with Kalman, a Hazzan from Mohilev, as one of his singers. When Weintraub's voice matured, he formed his own groups of singers in the same style as Kalman. He officiated as a cantor in Zomsc, Tykocin, Lvov and Brisk, but his most important office was located in Dubno. There he officiated for many years, but only during the high holidays. During the rest of the year he would travel and give performances with his group in various locations across Lithuania, Poland, Hungary and Prussia.

Weintraub was known for his unique improvisation technique, mainly due to his coloraturas. He developed his own style of Eastern European cantorate, which, according to A.W. Binder, ''contained musical elements such as certain intervals, tonalities and modulations which were lacking in the cantorate of the mid-twentieth century."

Weintraub had many pupils. The most prominent were his brother Nachum Leb, and his son Hirsch Weintraub, who succeeded him as cantor in Dubno.

Solomon Weintraub is the first cantor to leave behind liturgical compositions. They were published by his son Hirsch, in the third volume of his "Schire Beth Adonai," under the title "Schire Shelomo." 

(Written by Ofer Ronen)

Sources:

Idelsohn, A.Z. Jewish Music: In its Historical Development. 266–9.

Macy, Nulman. Concise Encyclopedia of Jewish Music. 260-1.

Goldschmidt, Ernst. "Weintraub, Solomon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. 729.

H. Harris, Toledot ha-Neginah ve-ha-Hazzanut be-Yisrael (1950), 395–6, 408–10 Z.H.A.

Weintraub, in: Ha-Maggid (April 7, 1875).

Preface to "Schire Beth Adonai" by H. Weintraub, by A. W. Binder, as shown in: http://www.geoffreyshisler.com.

Additional online biography from the Preface to "Shirei Beth Adonai" by H. Weintraub, by A. W. Binder. Biography in Hebrew by Hirsch Weintraub.

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