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כותרת:
The Liturgy of Beta Israel: Music of the Ethiopian Jewish Prayer
30
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2018
Place of Recording: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Series: 
Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel
Volume: 
26
Pages: 
3 CDs + 1 Booklet
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
Ge'ez
Country / Area: 
Ethiopia
Description: 

Some scientific enterprises, like good wine, mature over a long period of time. The present publication, dating back to 1986, is the result of a similarly deliberate and painstaking process, and in view of the fact that it was undertaken with French colleagues, the wine metaphor is a most natural fit.

The clandestine aliyah (immigration) of Ethiopian Jews that started in 1979 became publicized in the wake of Operation Moses when a significant proportion of the Jewish population of Ethiopia was flown from the Sudan to Israel between November 1984 and early January 1985. In the wake of this operation, the Israeli absorption authorities decided to gather the Qessoch (Qessoch, priesthood; sing. Qes, from the Amharic qəs, also called kahenat, sing. kahen, from Ge’ez kahən) at a learning institution in Jerusalem, Machon Meir, to familiarize them with general Jewish history and Orthodox religious law (Halacha) that regulates the private sphere among Jewish citizens in the State of Israel. These religious leaders of the Beta Israel community were seasoned practitioners of the unique Ethiopian Jewish tradition, which differs from Halacha. It quickly became obvious that such a contentious re-education process would lead to the rapid erosion of the autochthonous liturgical practices of the Beta Israel. Under the initiative of Prof. Simha Arom; the joint research efforts of Prof. Frank Alvarez-Pereyre (France), Dr. Shoshana Ben-Dor (Israel), Dr. Olivier Tourny; and with the cooperation of various French and Israeli research institutes, a project of systematic recordings of the Qessoch – which started at Machon Meir in the 1980s – turned into an ambitious research which provides a comprehensive understanding of the Beta Israel liturgy, as it was performed in Ethiopia until the mid-1980s.

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music. 

Bǝ'ǝnti'ahomu feṭǝrā (soloist: Qes Rahamim)

 

A prayer performed in the very early morning of Ber’hān Sarāqa (Rosh Hashana), before sunrise. The text binds the creation of Heavens, Earth, and Water to the Forefathers, for whom they have been created. A clear link is established between Ber’hān Sarāqa, the world’s creation and the Forefathers. The qualities of the latter are said to benefit their offspring. Such an extension of the meaning of the Biblical text brings the Beta Israel closer to rabbinical Judaism.  

 

Yǝtbārek… wanevāvo (soloist: Qes Rahamim)

 

This prayer can be heard around noon or in the afternoon during the service for Āstaseryo (Aescoly 1951). It opens with prescriptive formulations that have been described previously. Some of the phrases are from Exodus and others from Leviticus. The passages that specifically relate to Yom Kippur are then listed (Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:26-32). The prayer goes on to stipulate that Sabbath should be observed. It then focuses on the description of and praise for Jerusalem, the city of Abraham and Isaac, that has to be acclaimed by those who pray with their prayers and songs. The people of Israel are bound to Jerusalem through different obligations. The prayer evokes the letters dalet and zayin which have performative power. Justice and light shall arise from Jerusalem.

The prayer contains two sections, the first of which, very brief and unmeasured, is antiphonal. It leads to a dance song in the hemiola pattern, marked by the stamping of the Qessoch’s feet and the sporadic emission of rhythmic guttural sounds. In this piece, unlike the preceding ones, several Qessoch take turns in the role of soloist; as this is not predetermined, it sometimes happens that two or more of them start singing the solo simultaneously. The periodicity of the chant is variable; it can have 16, 18, 22, or even 24 beats per hemiola. This is mostly due to the overlapping of certain solos with the end of the choir section.

 

'Ǝsebāhaka bakʷwelu gize, Zegevre ‘aviya wamenkǝra, Wǝ'ǝtus kǝma mǝr`āwi, 'Amlākǝ `ālem (soloists: Qes Avraham, then Qes Yirmiyahu)

 

The prayer consists of four pieces that are performed in this order at weddings. The two first pieces can be heard separately on other occasions. In the first section, those who pray declare that they shall always praise God, believe in Him constantly and be faithful to Him. Praying in the House of God is then mentioned. Finally, those who pray ask God to guide them. The second piece appears independently in other Beta Israel celebrations. Those who pray are grateful for being allowed to be present at the liturgical event and perform it, praising God for it.  The third section contains the blessings for the wedding proper. It quotes part of Psalm 19 and links it to the groom. Then come the blessings for procreation and fertility of the land found in Deuteronomy 7:13-14. The last section of the prayer is a call to God. The eternal One is asked to bless His worshipers with peace, mercy, comfort, light and justice. The section closes with a set of blessings for the city of Jerusalem: peace for the city of the Forefathers, for the Temple, and for Zion the Holy.

The four pieces sung together at wedding ceremonies constitute an interesting set from the musical point of view. The performances are varied, the soloist’s part is shared by several Qessoch in turns (sometimes, within a single piece), and the melodies and the time organization show great variety. The first prayer, relatively short, is antiphonal. The second one starts after a pause. It contains two sections, one in the hemiola pattern, and a second one responsorial with very long enunciations followed by very short ones. The third prayer contains three different sections; the first one follows the hemiola pattern. In Ethiopia, the first two prayers and the first section of the third were accompanied on a gong and a frame-drum. Starting with the second hemiola section, the prayer is marked by the Qes stamping his feet on the ground. The third section, antiphonal, is characterized by a different musical mode. Finally, the last prayer consists of three sections: the first and third are in the hemiola pattern, while the middle section is antiphonal and in a different musical mode.

 

Tradition: 
Ethiopian
כותרת:
Arba Otiyot
20
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre/The Ben-Zvi Institute/NaNa Disk
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2017
Series: 
Contemporary Jewish Music
Volume: 
5
Pages: 
64
Type of Recording: 
Commercial Recording
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
Greek
Country / Area: 
North Africa
Description: 

This CD is dedicated to piyutim (sung sacred poetry) of the Jews of the Tafilalt (Berb. Tāfīlālt) region, in particular to the lore of the venerated tzaddiq (Heb. virtuous/ holy man) Rabbi Yaacov Abuhatzira and the members of the rabbinical dynasty he founded. The songs have been codified in a compendium titled Yagel Yaacov. To the poems of this collection, we added piyutim by other authors, which are related to the Moroccan Jewish tradition. The concept and performance of this production was developed by the Piyut Ensemble of the Ben-Zvi Institute, a Hebrew University institution dedicated to the research of the Sephardic and Oriental Jewry, under the direction of Yair Harel and Avraham Cohen.

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music

 

Tracks List: 
El hay mehullal ba-tishbahot
Mizmor shir le-yom ha-shabbat (1)
Yom ha-shabbat tov lehodot
A'ufah eshkonah
At adamah be-lev midbar
Yahid ram ye-arot hosef
Yonah tammati yeqarah mi-peninim
Mizmor shir le-yom ha-shabbat
Adonay Eloheinu, lekah tov natan lanu
Hadi alkas
Aromemekha, odeh shemakha
Elekha Adonay nasati 'einay - She'areikh be-dofqi yah fetahah
Mizmor shit le-yom ha-shabbat
El Hay mehullal ba-tishbahot
At adamah be-lev midbar
Tradition: 
Moroccan
כותרת:
Vemen vestu zingen, vemen? Leibu Levin Performs in Yiddish
20
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2016
Place of Recording: 
Bukovina, USSR, Israel
Series: 
Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel
Volume: 
25
Pages: 
1 CD + booklet
Type of Recording: 
Commercial Recording
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
Welsh
Description: 

“The songs of Leibu await definitive professional evaluation,” wrote back in 1984 the internationally renowned Yiddish singer Nechama Lifshitz in a memorial note dedicated to her late stage partner, the Yiddish performer, narrator, composer and singer Leibu Levin (1914-1983) from Czernowitz (today Chernivtsi in southwestern Ukraine). This new production of the Jewish Music Research Centre prepared around the centennial of Levin’s birth is a partial fulfilment of Lifshitz’s wish.

This CD is based on the comprehensive compilation and cataloging of Leibu Levin’s surviving historical recordings scattered in private collections and archives, most especially at the Sound Archives at the National Library of Israel. It includes a selection of a representative corpus of songs performed by Leibu Levin with or without instrumental accompaniment. Michael Lukin, a researcher of the JMRC specializing on Yiddish song and culture in Eastern Europe prepared a detailed scholarly essay on Leibu Levin’s oeuvre. The accompanying booklet also includes a full transcription, transliteration and translation of all the texts into English, Hebrew and Russian as well as biographical information about the poets.

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music. 

Attachments: 
Sleep, Sleep

Words by H. Leivick, music composed in 1936 and released in 1939. From a home recording.

A Polka-Mazurka

Words by A. Lutzky, music composed in 1937 and released only in 2005. Recorded by Kol Israel. Piano: Mathias Malve.

Autumn

Words by Itzik Manger. Composed in 1936. Recorded by Kol Israel during Leibu Levin's last concert, on 27.12.81 in Jerusalem.

Tradition: 
Ashkenazi
כותרת:
Experiencing Devekut
25
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Books
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem
Year: 
2015
Series: 
Yuval Music Series
Volume: 
11
Languages: 
English
Greek
Description: 

“Among hasidim the niggun not only reveals the state of mind of the singer, but also arouses the singer to the worship that he must fulfill.” - Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber, the fifth Habad Rebbe

To understand the power of the niggun experience in the hasid’s religious life, it is necessary to elaborate on concepts such as devekut and ratzo vashov (ebb and flow), and to appreciate the spiritual importance of hasidic gatherings, in which the niggun experience plays a central role. These are the central topics of the new book by Raffi Ben-Moshe that was published in December 2014 as part of the Jewish Music Research Centre's Yuval Music Series.

This study, the first of its kind, is based on extensive field work and participatory observations carried out among gatherings of hasidim in Israel, on a formal analysis of the niggunim performed during these occasions, and on the hermeneutics of the sayings of the Habad Rabbis on music and its role in mystical experience. The book contains complete musical transcriptions of the niggunim discussed in the text as well as a CD with excerpts from the field recordings upon which the study relied.

 

Tradition: 
Ashkenazi
כותרת:
Or Haganuz: Gems of Ashkenazi Hazzanut and Yiddish Songs Revived
20
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2015
Place of Recording: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Series: 
Contemporary Jewish Music
Volume: 
4
Pages: 
1 CD + booklet
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
English
Greek
Country / Area: 
Eastern Europe
Description: 

Prof. André Hajdu, one of the first JMRC researchers, has joined forces with Cantor Asher Hainovitz of the Yeshurun Central Synagogue in Jerusalem to put together a selection of hazzanut pieces and Yiddish songs in new arrangements for voice and piano by Hajdu. Using a technique that recalls the way romantic composers interpreted literary texts (in this case liturgical texts and Yiddish poems) in their music, Hajdu offers a fresh and sensitive reading of Ashkenazi hazzanut pieces by applying to them contemporary compositional techniques. The present production was initiated by the Ron Shulamit Conservatory in Jerusalem, and marks the 50th anniversary of the JMRC. It is the best gift we could offer to enthusiasts of Ashkenazi hazzanut and to all those who have an interest in Jewish music.

You can listen to this album on Spotifydownload MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music.

Raza Deshabbat

Raza Deshabbat is the second part of a kabbalist Aramaic text that begins with the words Kegavna deinnun mityahadim le'eila "Just as they unite up above," from the Zohar. The hasidim read this Aramaic text on Sabbath eve, and regard it as a bridge between the daily afternoon prayer and Kabbalat Shabbat (the Service of Welcoming the Sabbath). This rendition was composed by Russian/American cantor Pierre Pinchik (1895-1971).

Eileh Toldot Noah

This is a comical song about Noah, hero of the Biblical Great Flood, and his fondness for a stiff drink. The text was written by A. Almi (pen name of Eliyahu-Chaim Sheps, 1892-1968), a member of the Warsaw Jewish folklore researchers' circle, whose members were inspired by the work of I. L. Peretz.

Tradition: 
Ashkenazi
כותרת:
Judeo-Spanish Songs for the Life Cycle in the Eastern Mediterranean
30
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2014
Series: 
Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel
Volume: 
24
Pages: 
2 CD + Booklet
Type of Recording: 
Research Recording
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
Kyrgyz
Description: 

The album includes folksongs in Ladino that Sephardic Jews used to sing in events of the life cycle in their communities in Turkey, the Balkans and Israel. The recordings and accompanying commentaries are the work of Dr. Susana Weich-Shahak, one of the veteran associate researchers of the JMRC and one of the most prominent scholars of the folksong in Ladino worldwide. These CDs summarize the ethnographic work of Weich-Shahak at the JMRC and the National Sound Archives of the Israel National Library that span for over four decades.  Eighty-seven songs are included in the CDs, some of them rare pearls, some of them in different versions, all performed by the best folksingers, mostly women, from the Sephardic communities of Turkey and the Balkan who were recorded in Israel after their immigration. The CDs are accompanied by a substantial trilingual booklet (English, Spanish, and Hebrew) that includes detailed commentaries on the contexts of performance of the songs, their language and literary content as well as the musical styles of the melodies.

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music. 

La mujer de Terah

The figure of Abraham, the first circumcised Israelite, is central to the brit milah. This copla, mentioning Abraham’s mother and his father, Terah, is based on a midrashic interpretation of Abraham’s birth. Terah’s wife was pregnant. She changed and grew pale; although she knew the cause, she did not reveal her situation even to her husband. She wandered through fields and vineyards, suffering birth pains, and finally gave birth to Abraham in a cave. The song continues with the story of Abraham’s old age (at a hundred years) and about his wife, Sarah (at the age of ninety), their son, Isaac, and the Biblical story of Isaac’s binding.

El novio manda

Variant of a song on the theme of a list of gifts that the prodigal, lavish groom, has bought for his bride, as well as his hopes from her. The first line of each strophe states the gift sent to the bride: wooden clogs, hairpins, sweets, a purse, a wardrobe. The second line states an attribute that rhymes with the gift: the bride will be righteous and honest, she will come with her relatives, she will be adorned with long bunches of golden threads on both sides of her face, she will not be old, she is coming from her bath. “Let it be in a blessed hour,” says the refrain.

Tradition: 
Eastern Sephardi
כותרת:
Cute Boy, Charming Girl: Children's Songs of the Modern Hebrew Nation (1882-1948)
20
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2013
Series: 
Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel
Volume: 
23
Pages: 
1 CD + Booklet
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
English
Greek
Description: 

Cute Boy, Charming Girl: Children’s Songs of the Modern Hebrew Nation(1882-1948) presents Hebrew songs written for and sung by Jewish children in pre-state Israel. The selection represents highlights in the development of this genre in the first half of the twentieth century. It includes poems by canonical poets that were set to music by professional composers, songs by amateur poets and composers, translated songs, and borrowed melodies.

Most of the songs chosen for Cute Boy, Charming Girl are not part of today’s children’s repertoire in Israel but they were rather well-known in the past. They cannot be found today, either on commercial recordings or online. In addition, the recordings here are sung by adults who sang these songs in their childhood— either in pre-school, kindergarten or elementary school, or else at home with their parents. 

Performers: Naomi Abeles, Penina Abramson Gil Aldema, Haim Barkai, Miriam Cohen, Talila Eliram, Shimon Felman, Ruth Freed, Bilhah Korakin, Miriam (Bat Avraham) Levitin, Yaakov Mazon, Herzliya Raz, Shulamit Rosenfeld, Raya Rotem, Bat Ami Zmiri.

See Song of the Month February 2014, which includes fascinating elaborations about the song Para Para (cow cow) from the CD.

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music

 

Researcher
Shir Hanamal

In the Israeli imagination, the Mediterranean Sea evokes at once the western frontier, the venue from which one arrives to the Land of Israel, as well as the vital connection to the outside world, tangible or imaginary. For this reason songs about boats, sea travel and ports are also conspicuous in the children’s repertoire in Hebrew.

One example is ‘Song of the Port’ written by the eminent poetess Lea Goldberg to mark the celebration of the opening of the Tel Aviv seaport in 1936. The song, published in Davar le-yeladim (an influential children’s newspaper published by the Labor Party), resounds with optimistic markers of progress and industrial activism: ‘A thousand hands unload and build / we conquer the seashore and the wave / we are building a harbor here!’

כותרת:
Ahavat ‘Olamim: Andalusian Hebrew Song from the Maghreb to Jerusalem
30
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2012
Place of Recording: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Edition: 
1
Series: 
Contemporary Jewish Music
Volume: 
3
Pages: 
2 CD + Booklet
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
English
Greek
Country / Area: 
Israel
Description: 

Ahavat ‘olamim (Everlasting Love) is an original production based on a performance held in the framework of the Israel Festival in 2010. This is the third disc in the Contemporary Jewish Music series produced by the Jewish Music Research Centre. It is the product of the initiative and imagination of composer and double bass player Omer Avital, and of musician and educator Yair Harel, Ahavat ‘olamim represents a modern journey into the depths of the Andalusian Jewish musical tradition of Morocco and Algeria. This tradition, shared by Jews and Muslims, is rooted in the experience of Jewish life in the cities of Morocco: in prayer, in life-cycle rituals, and in non-liturgical religious songs for the early morning vigils, called Shirat ha-bakkashot.

The realization of this goal would not have been possible without R. Haim Louk, who offered the inspiration, guided the musicians, and performed this elaborate long piece, which required an intense vocal effort and adaptations to musical languages he had never before experienced. The final product serves then as a tribute to R. Haim Louk’s contribution to contemporary Israeli culture.

Performers: Rabbi Haim Louk, the New Jerusalem Orchestra, Piyyut Ensemble of the Ben Zvi Institute

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music. 

omar la adonai

Omar la-Adonay maḥsi, written by a poet named Mas’ud (this may be R. Mas’ud ben Mordechai Asab‘uni of Marrakesh, late 19th-early 20th c.). is is a stirring and energetic piyyut, mostly sung as part of the bakkashot and at the brit milah (circumcision ceremony), with the figure of Elijah the Prophet appearing in the refrain.

כותרת:
Ten Zemirot Ami: New Melodies for Piyyutim from the Aleppo Mahzor (1527)
20
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Recordings
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2012
Place of Recording: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Edition: 
1
Series: 
Contemporary Jewish Music
Volume: 
2
Pages: 
1 CD + Booklet
Media: 
CD
Languages: 
Greek
Description: 

Ten zemirot ‘ami is the second disc in the new “Contemporary Jewish Music” series of the Jewish Music Research Centre. This new series differs in character from the classic documentary series, “Anthology of Musical Traditions in Israel.” The discs do not aspire to compete with the proliferation of commercial recordings appearing under the label “Jewish music” in Israel and around the world. The main goal of the new series is to encourage experimental creativity drawing on Jewish sources—the same sources that the Centre labors to document, research and understand. In every living, breathing culture, every generation feels obligated to add something new to its capital. Composition of new melodies for piyyutim (liturgical poems), which had almost disappeared in the last generation, is a clear example of this type of undertaking. It sheds new light on ancient piyyutim that are still relevant to the community and can be brought back to life on the wings of the new melody. This is the guiding principle behind this publication.

The direct inspiration for this project is the excellent publication Mahzor Aram Zova: Order of prayers according to the costum of the Holy Congregation of Aram Zova (Aleppo/Haleb, Syria), a facsimile reproduction of the Venice edition of 5287/1527 printed in 5767/2007 by Yad Ha-Rav Nissim of Jerusalem, with the sponsorship of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation. This unique maḥzor contains many piyyutim composed by local poets and sung by the community during yearly and life cycle events.

Of the hundreds of piyyutim in the maḥzor, we chose twelve for which we commissioned new melodies. The work of composition was divided among five Israeli composers who are now involved in integrating the piyyut with the art of the Arabic maqam: R. David Menahem, Roni Ish-Ran, Yair Dalal, Elad Gabbai, and Elad Harel. Two paytanim active in Halabi synagogues in the United States joined the Israeli paytanim for performance of the piyyutim: David Shiro and Yehezkel Zion.

 

Performers: David Shiro, Yehezkel Zion, Rabbi David Menahem

 

You can listen to this album on Spotify, download MP3s at Amazon, or find it on Apple Music

 

Mi pi el

Composer: Rabbi David Menahem / Maqam: Hijaz

This piyyut for Simḥat Torah appears in the maḥzor after the service and Torah reading for that holiday. We readily recognize its opening—Mi-pi El, mi-pi El, titbarach Israel—from the well-known Simḥat Torah piyyut beginning Ein adir ka-Adonai, ein baruch ke-ben Amram (which does not appear in the maḥzor). Like other piyyutim that were originally written for Shavuot (Pentecost) but were also sung on Simḥat Torah, the topic is the giving of the Torah. Some ascribe it to R. Elazar ha-Bavli (13th century, Baghdad), but this attribution has not been confirmed.

 

Anu Be Hamon Shir

Ascribed to Shmuel Ha-Dayan Ben Moshe

Composer: Rabbi David Menahem / Maqam: Bayat-Huseyni

A piyyut for brit milah (circumcision) included in the section of seliḥot for the Sabbaths of the month of Elul. The author is apparently R. Shmuel Ha-Dayan ben Moshe of Aram Zova (c. 1150-1200). R. Shmuel was a prolific poet, and several of his poems are of an exceptionally high level. We do not know whether the description dayan (religious judge) refers to a position he occupied, or whether he was the son of the well-known Dayan family of Aram Zova. The piyyut was written for a brit milah of a boy born into the community, as we learn from the last verse—“We welcome you, people of Aram Zova.”

Tradition: 
Eastern Sephardi
כותרת:
Representations of Jews in the Musical Theater of the Habsburg Empire (1788-1807)
25
Publisher: 
Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Material Type: 
Books
Place of Publication: 
Jerusalem, Israel
Year: 
2012
Series: 
Yuval Music Series
Volume: 
9
Languages: 
English
Description: 

Research on the image of the Jew in eighteenth-century literature and theater has not identified any musical parallels to contemporary representations of Jews in the spoken theater. Yet these parallels existed and exploring them sheds new light on the European perception of Jews at this time. David Buch’s new study offers the earliest identifiable musical depictions of Jews in European theater (specifically in the Habsburg Empire during the age of late Mozart and Haydn, 1788-1807). His volume contains the earliest known theatrical vocal pieces intended to replicate synagogue music. This music surfaces after the first positive Jewish characters began to appear on the German stage, presenting an alternative to the common stereotype of the Jew as an object of denigration. The new image of the “noble Jew” may have inspired a number of attempts to represent the unique character of Jewish music, now presented as a distinctly different (albeit exotic) alternative to the common musical style of the time. By the mid-1790s Jewish singers and musicians were even performing their traditional music on stages in Vienna and Budapest. Yet, as Buch’s study shows, the deprecatory representations of Jews on the stage persisted.

From the review by Joshua S. Walder, Music and Letters 94, no. 1 (2013), pp. 154-156: "These materials provide a valuable documentary source for scholars and musicians seeking to understand public perceptions of Jewish culture and music at this time, and the ways varied perspectives on the Jewish presence in Habsburg society were depicted in the composition of music for opera and other theatrical genres....Buch’s volume takes its place within an important and growing field of enquiry into the representation of Jewish characters, music, and voices in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century musical theatre... Historians of religious music, ...may now be able to distil from some of the less mocking of these operatic renderings of Jewish voices some evidence of the actual Jewish liturgical tradition. David J. Buch’s volume will facilitate future study of Central European compositional practice, Jewish religious music, and the complex interactions and negotiations between practitioners of both at the turn of the nineteenth century."

Attachments: 

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