|Kindling the Sabbath Lights (Abraham Binder)||1:05|
|Three Candle Blessings I (Jack Gottlieb)||2:11|
|Three Candle Blessings II (Jack Gottlieb)||1:51|
|Three Candle Blessings III (Jack Gottlieb)||2:27|
|Shiru Ladonai - Psalm 96 (William Sharlin)||4:54|
|Sing Unto the Lord (Charles Davidson)||1:17|
|Sing Unto God (Debbie Friedman)||2:22|
|Adonai malakh (Frederick Piket)||2:40|
|L’kha dodi (Max Janowski)||4:30|
|L’kha dodi (Robert Strassburg)||6:41|
|L’kha dodi (David Schiff)||3:11|
|L’kha dodi (Sol Zim)||10:20|
|Tov l'hodot (Lazare Saminsky)||4:07|
|Tov l'hodot (Zavel Zilberts)||7:21|
|Bar’khu (Samuel Adler)||1:13|
|Ahavat olam (Samuel Adler)||1:56|
|Ahavat olam (Aminadav Aloni)||2:36|
|Sh’ma yisra’el (Samuel Adler)||1:34|
|Sh’ma yisra’el and V’ahavta (Debbie Friedman)||3:36|
|And Thou Shalt Love (Debbie Friedman)||2:36|
|V’ahavta and Mi khamokha (Samuel Adler)||3:36|
|Mi khamokha (Debbie Friedman)||1:45|
|Hashkivenu (Sol Zim)||4:13|
|Hashkivenu (Craig Taubman)||3:17|
As with most religions, Jewish life is punctuated by events that mark important transitions and regulate the overlapping cycles of time that make up the polyrhythm of life. Celebrations mark significant life turning points. Major holidays occur at transitional times of year. For the deeply observant, prayers help regulate the flow of time throughout each day.
Music for the Sabbath is a two-album set that focuses on individual liturgical settings for the Sabbath—the occasion of which has spawned an astonishing amount and variety of music. The albums also reveal more or less chronologically the development of American Jewish liturgical music over the past 100 years.
In his introduction to Volume 4, Cycle of Life in Synagogue and Home, Neil W. Levin points to the wide range of musical approaches that have evolved in this time frame: “At one far end of the spectrum is the eastern European–based hazzanut of American experience. At the other extremity are the radically divergent and sometimes experimental expressions found in contemporary popular idioms of innovative services.” The two albums have been designed to follow the prescribed order of the liturgy while juxtaposing these varied approaches and occasionally presenting back-to-back settings of the same prayer.
The first several tracks offer a microcosm of this design, tracing a path from Abraham Wolf Binder through Jack Gottlieb, William Sharlin, Charles Davidson, and Debbie Friedman. Following Binder’s short blessing, “Kindling of the Sabbath Lights,” are Gottlieb’s “Three Candle Blessings,” featuring narrator Tovah Feldshuh with choral accompaniment and Sharlin’s “Shiru Ladonai,” with the innovative vocal abilities of the Western Wind ensemble. Juxtaposed for the sake of comparison are settings of “Sing Unto God” by Davidson and Friedman.
Davidson and Friedman provide an interesting point of analysis of the contemporary scene. Davidson has been a significant voice in Jewish music for decades, at once on the forefront of innovation and deeply rooted in tradition. A composer of jazz and folk-rock oriented Sabbath services, Davidson has also composed widely in more traditional molds, as evidenced by his “Sing Unto God.” Friedman’s foray into Jewish music grew out of an epiphany. As she related during a Milken Archive recording session, she was riding a bus one day when a melody came to her and the only words she could think to use came from the Ahavta prayer. Thus was born “And Thou Shalt Love,” and, later, a revolution that would change Jewish liturgical music for generations to come. Several other tracks by Friedman, who died in 2011, are included here as well.
Continue to Volume 4: Digital Album 8
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