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As we take the day off to be with family and friends, the Milken Archive also pays respects to those who fought for Americans both here and overseas. Heinrich Schalit -- one of the principal names associated with serious American synagogue music for Reform worship -- produced a setting of the English translation of The 23rd Psalm. Atypical of most of his work but still one of his most popular pieces, this adaptation of the famous psalm offers the stark simplicity and calm, even-tempered flow suitable for memorial services.
The second year of Jewish Music Week in Toronto begins on June 3. This year’s theme is from Bible to Broadway. If that sounds like a broad range of music, it is. The festival covers everything from Sephardi and Klezmer music to Holocaust music, Israeli pop, cantorial and Yiddish theater music. Simon Spiro (pictured), famed cantor and featured soloist on numerous Milken Archive recordings will take the stage on June 4 for a tribute concert to Reb Shlomo Carlebach. Hear some of Spiro’s work, which -- akin to the festival’s theme -- ranges from folk songs and Yiddish theater to classical and cantorial. Listen in.
A few days shy of his birthday, Robert Beaser -- who was born on May 29, 1954 -- will head to Buffalo for the annual June in Buffalo festival and conference at the University of Buffalo. Several of Beaser’s works will be performed during the end-of-day concerts that follow the seminars, lectures, workshops, presentations and forums, but those who cannot make it to Buffalo can enjoy his The Heavenly Feast in the Milken Archive. Beaser describes the piece, and the Gjertrud Schnackenberg poem upon which it is based, as “essentially an interior monologue at the gravesite of Simone Weil,” a Jewish-born French philosopher and activist who died under tragically bizarre circumstances. Commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for soprano Dawn Upshaw, the piece reflects the cyclical structure of the poem with what Beaser calls “the simplest tonal language I ever used.” Listen in and learn more about Simone Weil.