Uv'khen yitkaddash 03:27

Liner Notes

Meir Finkelstein’s setting of the prayer text uv’khen yitkadash (And thus may/will Your name [adonai, be hallowed . . . ]) for the mussaf services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is a welcome contribution to the High Holy Day repertoire. Few American composers have addressed this prayer, and American cantors and choirs have relied for the most part on European settings in traditional molds. The most ubiquitous of those is the composition by the 19th-century cantor-composer Josef Goldstein (1836–1899), who served in Budapest and published the piece in Vienna in a collection of High Holy Day music dedicated to the last monarch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hapsburg emperor Franz Josef. The setting is now known almost exclusively in its subsequently expanded arrangements, most notably the intricate one by Max Grauman, a European cantor who immigrated to America and served the pulpit of the new West End Synagogue in New York (now Congregation Shaaray Tefila).

Finkelstein’s interpretation is appropriately dramatic, though more straightforward and direct than that of Goldstein or others emanating from Europe; and, of course, unlike those others, it reflects contemporary harmonic language, including subdued use of jazz chords. Passages of resolute majesty alternate with others of quiet delicacy. The engaging contrapuntal soprano-alto duet at the words b’ein melitz yosher (Since there is no righteous advocate to [plead our cause . . .]), which is repeated by the full choir with greater intensity, echoes the reverent supplication that concludes the prayer. Whether by design or unconsciously, Finkelstein has perpetuated a tradition followed in previous European settings by introducing these words with fresh musical material to establish a contrasting supplicatory mood.

By: Neil W. Levin



Composer: Meir Finkelstein
Length: 03:27
Genre: Liturgical

Performers: Meir Finkelstein, Cantor;  Neil Levin, Conductor;  New York Cantorial Choir

Date Recorded: 01/01/2000
Venue: Riverside Church (E), New York, New York
Engineer: Stedman, Marc
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Levin, Neil


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