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The Western Sephardi Liturgical Tradition as Sung by Abraham Lopes Cardozo. Originally from the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam, serving the Portuguese community of Suriname and then more than 40 years as Hazzan of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, Cardozo is considered one of the last living Hazzanim of the venerable Western Sephardi tradition. This CD combines recordings carried out over a span of almost 50 years, and attempts to sample the various layers of the liturgy: recitation formulae for various occasions (Shabbat, Festivals, Circumcision and Wedding), cantillation (reading from the Scriptures), and melodies for the High Holidays and Qinnot (dirges).
The complete Portuguese version of the Sabbath Eve Qiddus (the Sanctification of the Sabbath over a cup of wine) recited by the head of the family before the ritual hand washing that precedes the festive meal. The musical technique employed in this rendition is similar to the scriptural reading of Biblical texts. The introductory verses are chanted in a psalmodic manner in minor. At the benediction over the wine the piece switches to major and remains so for the benediction of the Sabbath.
The Sheva' berakhot ("Seven Blessings") are a central component of the Jewish wedding ceremony. This recording is a unique rendition of this prayer that comprises the closing section of the wedding ceremony that takes place under the huppah (wedding canopy). The performance consists of a recitation formula similar to that of other benedictions. This formula consists of two parts as do most Jewish liturgical blessings. Since the benedictions have very diverse textual lengths from very short to very long the melody is prolonged by additional motives. The first part covering the opening text of the blessing varies with each repetition depending on the length of the text of each blessing. The second part comprising the blessing formula itself (starting with the words Barukh ata "Blessed by you") is similar in all the repetitions. The benedictions end here with the formula Hodu ladonay ki tov ki le'olam hasdo tanosna anabot mi-ysrael vetirbena semahot ("Let us thank the Lord for His kindness for His mercy is forever let the suffering disappear from Israel and joyful occasions proliferate").