Piket, Frederick

Born in Constantinople (now, Istanbul, Turkey) to a Viennese Jewish family in which his father was a physician, Frederick [Fritz Siegfried] Piket grew up in Vienna, where he began studying violin at the age of five. By his late teen years he had hopes to pursue a musical calling—principally as a conductor. His father, however, like many middle- and upper-middle-class Jewish parents who (correctly) viewed the professions as more likely than music or the arts to provide security and social stability, insisted that his son attend medical school. After succumbing to his father’s pressure and studying medicine halfheartedly for about two and a half years, Piket aborted the course and determined to follow his musical instincts. Between 1924 and 1929 he attended the Vienna State Academy of Music, where he studied piano as well as music theory, counterpoint, composition, and conducting. Together with his first wife, whom he married in Vienna in 1928 (they were divorced in America, and he subsequently remarried), he relocated to Berlin in 1930. Meanwhile, he conducted for opera and operetta productions at several local opera houses or companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; and he held related posts as Kapellmeister. In Berlin, beginning in 1931, he studied composition with the celebrated composer and pedagogue Franz Schreker in summer master classes at Berlin’s Musikhochschule. And in 1931 he was awarded the Mendelssohn Prize, which he shared with Kurt Fiebig.

In 1933, when the National Socialists assumed power in Germany as a result of the preceding elections, Piket left for Barcelona, where he remained until his immigration to the United States in 1940. Like many émigré musicians in America at that time, he earned his living as a freelance musician—arranger, pianist, accompanist, teacher, and coach. But he soon developed a reputation in the New York area as a brilliant pianist, and during the 1940s he achieved several successes as a composer. Among the first was his orchestral suite The Funnies, based on comic strip characters of the day such as Superman, Orphan Annie, Gasoline Alley, and the Gumps. He was to retain a fondness for American cartoons throughout his life. “Cleverly written,” wrote the reviewer for the Toronto Globe and Mail after a performance of the piece,

The Funnies mimic their prototypes insofar as they represent the art of kaleidoscopic change. Comic strips being the record of momentary incidents, it seemed as though Mr. Piket’s music likewise sought to minimize music’s time factor. However, the composer is a skillful craftsman and accomplishes some clever strokes.

Another of his other successful works from that decade was Variations and Fugue for Orchestra, based on the well-known Negro spiritual “Go Down Moses,” about which a reviewer opined, “Within the framework of the Viennese style a genuine personality can be discerned. Mr. Piket’s free treatment of his melody has an emotional as well as a structural basis. . . . The work is full of ideas and imagination.” But the piece that brought him the greatest recognition at that time was his overture, Curtain Raiser to an American Play, performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, which won him the Gershwin Prize. Those works transparently reflect Piket’s interest in engaging cultural aspects of his recently adopted country that were, of course, entirely new to him. His concertos, too, were played with some frequency during those years, and orchestras that programmed his music included the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Chautauqua Symphony, the Minneapolis Symphony, the Toronto Philharmonic, and the Indianapolis Symphony. 

Like many Jewish émigré musicians in the 1930s and 1940s who were essentially refugees from the Third Reich and the war in Europe, and who became attracted to Jewish music in the United States, Piket had not been involved in synagogue music—nor in the synagogue experience—before his American years. Nor had he ever thought of following that route when he immigrated. He had been given no Jewish education, and he possessed no knowledge of Hebrew. At most, he had retained some familiarity with the phonetics of written Hebrew (viz., the ability to read the consonants and vowels, but with no comprehension) that, according to his own accounts of his youth in Vienna, he had acquired for a pro forma bar mitzvah ceremony.

In the 1950s, when the necessities of life intervened and his freelance musical work was insufficient to support a family of three children, he turned to the American Reform Synagogue and its practical opportunities for organists, choirmasters, singers, and composers and arrangers. He began organ studies, which enabled him to play for services in several Reform congregations in the New York area —beginning as organist for Cantor Raymond Smolover at the White Plains Jewish Community Center. The acquaintance Piket thus gained with the music of some of the leading contemporaneous composers writing for Reform services inspired him to begin composing for the liturgy himself. Despite his moderate success during the 1940s and early 1950s as a pianist and composer in the general arena, and notwithstanding the respect he garnered for his secular choral arrangements and original pieces through their performances by such leading choral conductors as Robert Shaw and Hugh Ross (and many college choruses), it is, ultimately, his Hebrew liturgical music—geared primarily to the Reform format of the 1950s through the early 1970s—for which he is likely to be best remembered. A number of those settings for Sabbath and High Holy Day services enjoyed currency during that period. If fewer of them are heard with any regularity in the first decades of the 21st century, it may nonetheless be said that his liturgical opera, considered in the aggregate, earned him a place in the history of 20th-century American sacred music.

Piket taught in the music department of New York University, but his more lasting influence began when he joined the faculty of the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York, where his students were future cantors—mostly within the Reform movement. There he taught music theory, harmony, and composition. And it was there, in his interactions with students and colleagues in and outside class sessions, that he became known for his outspoken and frequently voiced aversion to perpetuating, relying upon, or being bound by the centuries-old established prayer modes (or any other strictures) of canonized Ashkenazi custom (minhag Ashkenaz)—either directly, in terms of quotation or retention of specific pitch formulas, or more broadly, in the sense of implied style, melodic progression, or harmonization of the scales of those modes. Hence the title of a 1998 master’s thesis about Piket by Jennifer G. Blum, a matriculating cantorial student at the school—“Allergic to Nusaḥ” (lit., the established or accepted way; in colloquial, eastern European–rooted cantorial jargon, the term denotes the complex formulaic network of patterns, motives, and scale bases for specific liturgical occurrences and/or occasions that constitute the Ashkenazi prayer modes). That thesis title echoes a motto Piket is reported to have iterated to his students.

The “allergy,” however, appears to have been a policy that Piket honored as much in the breach as in any adherence to it. His setting of the High Holy Day prayer zakhrenu, for example, observes faithfully the customary melodic formula for its concluding b’rakha, including the final cadence comprising a descending minor triad. Similarly, his High Holy Day settings and arrangements for parts of the avot liturgy (the opening texts and their b’rakhot that introduce the amida—the core, statutory liturgy of traditional services, excerpts of which are included in Reform formats) follow closely the traditionally mandated formulae and their melodic material within the framework of the nusaḥ hat’filla for those services—including the mi sinai tune skeleton of the initial prayer, which is generically universal in Ashkenazi custom and is believed to have medieval origins. Moreover, he based those arrangements (which include his own modal harmony in the organ parts) on known settings by earlier traditional cantorial composers, including the learned cantor Borukh Schorr (1823–1904), the chief cantor of the Great Synagogue in Lemberg (L’vov, in Galicia under the Austro-Hungarian Empire; now L’viv in Ukraine). And he incorporated other, more recent but nonetheless familiar—and by then “traditional”—tunes that probably date to the 19th or early 20th centuries. Perhaps his allergic condition was less advanced at the time he wrote those settings, which he did jointly with Cantor Wolf Hecker; or perhaps that condition was more under control than at other times. 

However, Piket’s original setting of adonai malakh for the Sabbath eve service (actually from its introductory kabbalat Shabbat service, which was merged with the Sabbath arvit, or evening service, in the Union Prayerbook of the Reform movement) opens with the cantorial solo line on an ascending minor triad. As he most certainly was aware, this is in complete defiance of the established recognizable pattern that ascends a major triad for the incipit. In fact, the mode itself, adonai malakh shteiger (mode), derived its name from its use for that Psalm text in the kabbalat Shabbat service. Of the Asheknazi prayer modes, it is the one most closely akin to the Western major scale, notwithstanding its significant departures. But apart from his negation of custom, it must be confessed that the artistic merit of Piket’s setting is not diminished.

Although he sometimes chose to honor aspects of nusaḥ hat’filla where applicable (such as in his setting of zokhrenu), Piket insisted that these were melodic and purely artistic rather than formulaic or historically based decisions; and he continued to rant against the very concept of the prayer modes and their perpetuation. That seemingly belligerent resistance to tradition—even as he was aware that it could be clothed artistically in modern stylistic guises—probably stemmed in part from the lateness of his entry into the field of synagogue music, long after his own compositional style, procedures, tastes, and predilections had become crystallized. Nor was that professed antagonism ever adequately defined. As a latecomer to the liturgy itself, and thus to the ramifications of liturgical continuity, he seems to have been unable intellectually as well as emotionally to appreciate the rationale behind the maintenance of synagogue music tradition in some form—the practical value of its conservation and its creative possibilities that could, in the hands of a skilled composer, embrace even the most progressive and original forms of expression. 

Indeed, one of the frequent subjects of discourse among Jewish liturgical composers and others concerned with the music of Reform worship in the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s was the inventive employment of the scales of the traditional prayer modes. That consideration addressed not only the linear, melodic, and intervallic properties of the modes in terms of solo vocal lines, but also the development of modal harmonic constructions derived from—or implied by—those modes as alternatives to conventional 19th-century Western harmonizations. A number of Piket’s fellow liturgical composers, including contemporaneous European émigrés who had arrived in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, were espousing such modal approaches not only for prayer texts to which specific modalities had long been applied in orthodox and quasi-orthodox circles, but also for those liturgies to which Ashkenazi tradition had never attached any canonized modal or other requirements—and certainly no particular harmonic language.

On one level, such modal considerations represented an attempt to reexamine, resuscitate, and reestablish elements of aesthetic authenticity. But those modal explorations were viewed understandably as innovative in the context of the American Reform format and its embedded habits and preferences. Apart from a handful of ubiquitous motifs and tunes associated with the High Holy Days and to a lesser extent with the Three Festivals (typically offered in both cases with outdated and simplistic Western European harmonic treatment) that had peppered the otherwise Western classical melos and hymn-oriented musical persona of American Reform repertoire throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, any such modal reference as an invocation of older roots was viewed—perhaps paradoxically on the surface—as a new, modern, and manifestly 20th-century departure. Composers who embraced that “new” path envisioned it as providing a rediscovery of Jewish liturgical authenticity within a framework of modern artistic sensibilities. For them, the “new” modal procedures provided a putative flavor of antiquity to Reform worship and thus an auditory patina of historical validity—one that could be freshly informed by an admixture of contemporary and older modally based chord structures, and guided by modern compositional devices.

The trend toward revival of the prayer modes in Reform contexts was not entirely without related antecedents. By the turn of the century, Edward Stark—whose music might be considered an exception to the rule in this respect—had experimented with echoes of nusaḥ hat’filla in some of the liturgical settings he wrote during his tenure as music director of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco; and a few of those entered the repertoire of other Reform congregations across the country. But Stark’s harmonizations remained well within the perimeters of Western tonality. And beginning in the 1920s, Lazare Saminsky had begun, albeit conservatively, to introduce into his settings for Reform worship reflections of his own perceptions of modal authenticity. Yet his basic harmonic language also refrained from radical departures from Western tonal foundations. It was only in the 1940s and 1950s that modal procedures and properties were being adopted transparently by some of the leading composers within the Reform fold who had become intrigued by the challenge of finding new ways to harmonize the prayer modes and by their inherent possibilities for manipulating modality with advanced contemporary techniques. And it was only in 1958, for example, that Isadore Freed, one of the principal Reform-oriented liturgical composers of the mid-20th century, published his groundbreaking monograph, Harmonizing the Jewish Modes.

Meetings of the academic Jewish music societies and councils of the time regularly featured discussions of this phenomenon and its value in forging an emblematic, historically perceived “Judaic” character in modern (read nonorthodox) synagogue music. Unlike many of the learned synagogue composers and intellectually curious cantors and other synagogue musicians who frequented those sessions, however, Piket did not participate actively in those groups or their deliberations. Nor did he publish in their journals or bulletins. Despite passing references to his views on the subject in reported comments to students, private correspondence with colleagues, and a presumed draft for a 1950 lecture that resides among his papers, we are still at a loss to understand the basis of his objections or the degree to which his opposition might have represented any logically developed theoretical conceptions aside from purely artistic preference.

Considerations of modality in which several of Piket’s colleagues engaged sometimes went beyond the Ashkenazi prayer modes altogether, to encompass elements of modal harmonic practice drawn from pre-tonal procedures in Western art and sacred music during the medieval and Renaissance periods and, to a lesser extent, from what was known or perceived concerning non-Western musics. Those composers approached aspects of Western modality not, of course, according to any of the structured systems of the historical medieval Church modes, nor, for that matter, according to any particular schemes in the musical practices of any so-called world music cultures. Rather, they experimented with such modality in a looser, generic sense, including in their departures from conventional tonality such modal hallmarks as a finalis other than the tonic (or perceived tonic); the lowered seventh scale degree with the resulting absence of the leading tone; avoidance of the dominant-tonic relationship; and judicious use of pedal tones or pedal points. Features exploited by them to suggest a feeling of older modality in contemporary settings could include the interval of a whole tone below the tonic in an otherwise major scale (as in the Mixolydian mode); the interval of a major sixth above the tonic in an otherwise basically minor scale (a reference to the Dorian mode); an augmented fourth above the tonic in an otherwise major scale (an echo of the Lydian mode); a semitone above the tonic in an otherwise minor scale (reminiscent of the Phrygian mode); and open fifths (and to a lesser extent, open fourths), both by themselves and in compound superimpositions, combined so as to avoid a leading tone.

Rarely were those elements employed in any doctrinaire, exclusive, or theoretically systematic way; most often they were intermingled with diatonic procedures and related tonal harmonies—sometimes in a single piece. But invoking even some of those modal elements within a wider framework, as well as other modal derivations of the historically Jewish prayer modes, was viewed as one way of providing a desired aura of antiquity to replace total reliance on typical 19th-century European harmonization—a convention that many were coming to perceive as inappropriate both for modern, mid-20th-century aesthetics and for a liturgy with ancient and medieval origins. Piket, often with an air of untempered antagonism, verbally rejected that thinking as yet another unwanted impediment to his mantra of free artistic expression, though he succumbed in a number of his settings—to their benefit.

Stranger still was Piket’s contention that any required reliance on institutionalized liturgical tradition—in the form of the stipulated prayer modes or their derived modal harmonic procedures—is ipso facto an unwarranted and unacceptable restriction on artistic freedom. That position, too, was never satisfactorily explained or argued. Certainly he was aware that throughout musical history, qualitative artistic merit has rested neither on adherence to nor avoidance of systems, preordained procedures, or imposed boundaries (tonal, modal, dodecaphonic, serial, aleatoric, electronic, or others), but rather on the relative gifts of composers who either used or refrained from using them. The fact that music both great and inferior has been written deliberately within the frameworks of such constraints is beyond debate.

It is difficult to accept the sometimes exaggerated vehemence with which he held and voiced that stance with regard to functional synagogue music, since the Hebrew liturgy (traditional as well as Reform) contains ample opportunities for completely unfettered musical expression. The prayer modes apply historically—as do the mi sinai tune tradition and other established motivic formulas of minhag Ashkenaz—only to certain texts, sections of services, and liturgical calendar occasions and their distinctions, leaving numerous prayers, hymns, and Psalms that have no canonized or required musical tradition and in fact invite varieties of free expression. These have been interpreted over the centuries in a myriad of styles, fashions, and artistic brands, according to musical influences of different periods and geographic locales. Thus, much of Piket’s fulminating about freedom seems perplexing.

His demand in the extreme for the “right” to unrestrained artistic expression, free of prayer mode requirements or modal-harmonic systems, was aimed at all new synagogue music, not merely his own work. This suggests that he overlooked or misunderstood in principle (though, ironically, not always in practice) the underlying functional nature and role of liturgical music as a genre of its own, whose purpose is to amplify, facilitate, and enliven worship. Hebrew liturgical music is thus also, without opprobrium or belittlement, a form of Gebrauchsmusik—in which the purely musical parameter is, without necessarily precluding sophisticated artistic quality, ultimately subservient to the liturgical texts, theological messages, spiritual dimensions, communicative goals, and, indeed, traditions of the Judaic prayer experience. Yet despite his protestations, nearly all Piket’s prayer settings fit squarely within that functional characterization, including those in which tradition appears to have been ignored. None make any pretense to abstract art or concert music devoid of synagogal function. Adding to his contradictions, he appeared at times ambivalent in his understanding of that functional role. Former students at the School of Sacred Music have recalled that in some of his lectures and discussions, he acknowledged the need for simplicity and directness in synagogue music. And in an introduction to an anthology of music by the learned 19th-century synagogue composer Eliezer Mordecai Gerovitsch (1844–1914), which Piket coedited and arranged with Wolf Hecker (Eliezer Gerovitsch, Songs of Prayer, Sacred Music Press, c. 1955), he cautioned that synagogue composers should be sensitive to congregants’ reactions—how they relate to the music—and that such composers must “refrain from abstruse idioms, complicated forms and inaccessible structures.”

At the same time, Piket could look down with disdain on composers who made judicious use of traditional melodic material in order to provide worshippers with familiar elements, even when such material was carefully developed. For example, his harsh condemnation (in a draft of an unpublished review) of Charles Davidson’s 1973 Sabbath service L’david Mizmor for its logical employment of Torah cantillation motifs in its setting of v’ahavta—itself a direct quotation from the Torah—betrayed an obliviousness to the liturgical appropriateness of that artistic choice; and perhaps it revealed a degree of unfamiliarity with the full theological ramifications of the biblical passage. That attitude, so transparent in its dismissiveness, might have been owing to Piket’s former status—until his sixth decade—as essentially an outsider to the synagogue experience. For in dismissing Davidson’s connection of the text to its established cantillation, Piket was clearly unable to appreciate the historical value of those cantillation motifs as appropriate sacred musical substance that resonates with worshippers. In Piket’s defense, we might also recall that the Torah was still read, rather than chanted, in typical American Reform services in the 1950s, when he commenced his synagogue involvement, so that these cantillation motifs—although they later became part of Reform formats—probably did not have the same significance for him as they did in the more traditional circles to which Davidson’s service was addressed.

Similarly, Piket could not relate to Davidson’s quotation, in other parts of that service, of authentic Hassidic tune fragments, which were employed deliberately for emotional and spiritual effect—not passively, as Piket implied, for want of original musical ideas. One wonders, without implying equation of artistic levels, whether he would have raised the same objection to Mahler’s or Dvořák’s references to Czech and Moravian folk tunes. In any case, here, too, Piket probably could not fully comprehend the spiritual dimensions and resonance of Hassidic song, even in completely nonorthodox environments. Again, we must be reminded of Reform sensibilities of a former time. During Piket’s formative years in the field in the 1950s, melody that even suggested Hassidic origin was, by virtue of its deceptive tunefulness and its association with an unwanted aspect of European Jewish experience, most often precluded from Reform services as “out of place” in the modern American context. When Isadore Freed’s Hassidic Service for Sabbath Eve was premiered in 1954 at Temple Israel in Lawrence, New York—a watershed event for Reform worship, even though the Hassidic sources were clothed in uncharacteristic four-part harmony for mixed chorus with organ accompaniment—the rabbi of the congregation, Judah Cahn, found it necessary to offer a preludal explanation to the congregation that verged on a subtle disclaimer to calm potential fears of permanent Hassidic intrusion; and he cited “the seeming paradox of Hassidic music in a liberal American temple.”

On the other hand, Piket’s generic protestations against trite, folk-derived, or popular-based tunes and ditties—whether recently adopted or long established as part of a pseudo-tradition—suggest an acquired respect for the literary sophistication of the liturgy as a sacred poetic art form. His rejection of the widespread affinity (which has become magnified by the 21st century) for attaching simplistic if not crude musical counterparts to serious texts that are layered with theological depth, historical complexity, and poetic intricacy bespeaks artistic as well as intellectual integrity. His indictment, for example, of the infantile, tedious tune to which the solemn monotheistic Judaic credo, sh’ma yisra’el, is routinely sung in virtually all American synagogues—with increasing disregard for the tradition of musical differentiations among its distinct occurrences in the liturgy—was fitting and long overdue, even by then. Unfortunately, he fell into the common trap of following others in assuming the veracity of that tune’s attribution to Cantor Salomon Sulzer (1804–1890), the seminal architect of modern cantorial art and synagogue choral practice, who would have been equally dismayed at the tune’s use. In fact, none of Sulzer’s several sh’ma yisra’el settings for the various occasions of its pronouncement—all of them stately and dignified—even resembles that childish ditty. Equally regrettable was Piket’s resulting and uninformed inclusion of Sulzer, by implication, among the composers he characterized as “small musical amateurs”—which only revealed his lack of knowledge concerning Sulzer’s historical significance and the nature of his oeuvre.

Piket expressed an aversion not only to admittedly inappropriate tunes but, in principle, to any folkloristic sources for liturgical music. As his chosen policy for his own compositions, that was of course a legitimate artistic decision. But so broad and all-encompassing a dismissal, aimed at all composers, ignored the proven artistic validity of skillfully controlled folk material not only in liturgical composition but also in important concert music of the late 19th and 20th centuries. When, for example, he proclaimed to the American composer Herman Berlinski that folksong or folk-derived motifs in serious music had been a turn-of-the-century fad “owing to composers’ frustration at not knowing where to turn next,” it was as if he were negating with a single stroke (which he could not have intended) the aggregate contribution of the various national or ethnic-national schools—from the so-called Russian Five to Dvořák, from Smetana to Janáček to Sibelius and Vaughan Williams, and from Ives to Copland; and even of composers more squarely centered in the classical German-Viennese orbit, such as Mahler, whose symphonic melos is suffused with folksong references. Ultimately, of course, the debates triggered by the use of folk material, whether in classically based concert music or functional sacred music, revolve less around the folk source and more around the quality of its development—and, in the case of Hebrew liturgy, around the music’s appropriateness to text and occasion.

In his distaste for folkloric sources or quotations in synagogue music, Piket seems to have been unaware of the probability of secular folk and even ecclesiastical derivations of certain key components of the oldest established layers of Ashkenazi custom. Apparently without knowing their likely origins, he readily accepted some of those melodic and modal elements as sacred and indispensable; and he correctly thus incorporated them into applicable settings—the leitmotif of the High Holy Day evening services, for example, and the exclusive Ashkenazi kol nidrei melodic version. His overriding conviction that folk and sacred genres are incompatible suggests that he was not conversant with the scholarly literature then available—Abraham Zvi Idelsohn’s writings, for example, even though some of them have since become outdated or superseded by more recent findings.

Quite apart from our retrospective critiques of his voiced attitudes with regard to the overall musical aesthetic of the modern synagogue, and despite the rickety foundations for some of his arguments, Piket’s own music constitutes a lasting contribution to the composite American Reform repertoire. If his music is in some respects more simply conceived than that of the other principal émigré composers of his circle, such as Fromm, Schalit, Hugo Adler, and Freed, it is nonetheless engaging on its own terms—especially the smaller forms. Among his many published as well as unpublished liturgical compositions, in addition to those briefly discussed above, are his Ahavat olam; Al ḥet, the communal confessional on Yom Kippur, which is intriguing for its minor triads that ascend by a minor second for each line of the text and then, having reached a climax, descend—also by a half-step—to the final cadence; The Seventh Day, a Sabbath eve service, in which the Kiddush—despite his protestations concerning reliance on modality—cleverly employs modal references; a pre–Rosh Hashana s’liḥot service, Midnight Penitential Service; Out of the Depths I Cry, to an English translation of mi ma’amakim (Psalm 136); Adonai ma adam (O God, What Is Man?); Memorial Service, for the Yom Kippur yizkor service as well as for general use; Friday Evening Youth Service; Shirei Bet Sinai (Pittsburgh Service) for Sabbath eve; Service for Rosh Hashana Morning, whose k’dusha setting is widely sung; Sim shalom; and Kavod la’Torah, a Torah service for Sabbath eve (an innovation of the Reform movement)—among numerous other individual settings.

His secular oeuvre (beginning in 1931) is impressive as well, including among its many works his Concerto for Orchestra; Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra; Variations on a Nursery Tune for concert band; Sea Charm, on poems by Langston Hughes for mixed a cappella chorus; A Whitman Cantata for mixed chorus, saxophone, brass, and percussion; Count Down or Covenant, a cantata for baritone solo, mixed choir, narrator, and speaking chorus; and Trilby, a four-act opera. He also wrote a one-act opera, Issac Levi, based on the life and myths surrounding the 19th-century Hassidic master, rabbi, and folk hero Rebbe Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev (the “Berditchever”; see the notes to Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3 “Kaddish” in Volume 11). The libretto was written by Raymond Smolover, who also commissioned the work for a Jewish opera project he had founded—initially in White Plains, New York—and the opera was performed in 1956 in New York City with Cantor Harold Orbach in the leading role. It was, however, never orchestrated, and it remains available only as a manuscript piano-vocal score.

By: Neil W. Levin


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