Tracks

Play

Track

Time

1. Shalom aleychem 03:59
2. Uv nucho yomar 08:12
3. Mimkomo 02:35
4. Prelude 02:11
5. Havdala 05:05
6. Eliyahu hanavi 03:09
 

Liner Notes

The Day of Rest is a concert service comprising settings of texts from three sections of the Sabbath liturgy: for Friday evening (kabbalat shabbat and arvit), for Saturday morning (shaḥarit, the Torah service, and mussaf), and for the concluding service on Saturday evening. There are nineteen numbers in all, from which six have been excerpted for this recording.

The Day of Rest was intended deliberately to recall and incorporate cantorial idioms, melodic contours, modal practices and patterns, and an overall emotional ambience of the aggregate eastern European cantorial-choral tradition. That tradition developed gradually in large areas of the Czarist and Hapsburg empires from at least the 17th century and reached its zenith in the late 19th century. Aspects of it were transplanted in America by immigrant cantors and choirmasters from those regions, albeit not without a degree of dilution and even some corruption. The stamp of that tradition at its most sophisticated level is manifestly transparent in these settings. Yet in certain sections and passages there is also the discernible imprint of the imposing grandeur and majesty more commonly associated with the character of the 19th-century western Ashkenazi—or “German”—Synagogue. In particular, there are some stylistic resonances of the path forged by Salomon Sulzer (1804–90) in Vienna and Louis Lewandowski (1821–94) in Berlin—the two principal architects of a learned approach to modern synagogue music based on Western classical or art music models. That echo is especially evident here in the setting of Uv’nuḥo yomar in a seamless and symbiotic blend with other, more specifically eastern European features. The apparent admixture poses no stylistic conflict, however; nor does it undermine the composer’s claim to eastern European foundation, for both Sulzer’s and Lewandowski’s impact upon eastern European repertoires and tastes was formidable, even if not always popularly perceived. Indeed, the polarization between the two traditions was not always quite so distinct, nor the dividing wall quite so opaque, as is sometimes imagined. Extant choral books reveal that by the late 19th century, certain Sulzer and Lewandowski compositions were in use throughout the eastern Ashkenazi orbit, in conjunction with creations of local composers. Thus the overall flavor of Kalib’s Uv’nuḥo yomar is no less an indication of eastern European practice than other, more typically eastern European melody types.

The composer has offered the following observations and remarks on these excerpts:

Shalom aleikhem is a four-stanza hymn of greeting to the angels who, according to Talmudic legend, accompany Jews home from the synagogue on Friday evenings following the Sabbath eve service. It is the first of a set of z’mirot (table hymns) sung as the assemblage gathers around the table prior to commencing the Sabbath eve meal. The text is set here in a joyous mood and tempo, which gives way by contrast in the third strophe to a slower, tranquil, and celestial tone to mirror the words, “Bless me with peace, O angels of peace...”

Uv’nuḥo yomar occurs at the end of the Torah service—during the morning service—and is recited as the Torah scrolls are returned to the ark following the communal reading. The music here projects the contrasting moods within the text. Quiet majesty accompanies the opening lines; a didactic and devotional mood is accorded the succeeding section, which includes the words “For I have given you good teaching—forsake not My Torah”; and the words “It is a tree of life to those who grasp it” have been set in a declamatory style. The closing words, “Bring us back to You, O Lord,” are intoned in a mood of nostalgic longing.

Mimm’komo (Ezekiel 3:12) is a constituent passage of the larger liturgical text recited during the mussaf service on Sabbath and holyday mornings, which is known as the k’dusha (sanctification). The opening words are interpreted majestically in this setting, moving towards a mood of devotion in anticipation of the text that follows in reference to the required proclamation of the sh’ma—the basic credo of Jewish faith.

The instrumental prelude to the concluding service is based upon motives from the Sabbath afternoon service (minḥa). Its melancholy mood reflects the waning of the spiritually uplifting Sabbath day. Its minor mode drifts to another parallel one (major third phrygian) that is traditionally employed in the Saturday evening service, including the havdala text.

Havdala is the ceremonial benediction over wine, a lit candle, and aromatic spices, marking the departure of the Sabbath. Here the cantor begins the havdala with a recitative-type passage. In the spirited metrical tune that follows, to the words “You will draw water from the wells of salvation,” the choral treatment involves tone painting to depict the flowing water. For the words that refer to trust in God’s protective power—in essence praying for its assured presence during the coming new week—the cantorial recitative gives the feeling of supplication, and the succeeding phrases move towards a triumphal, joyous conclusion.

Eliyahu hannavi is a hymn for the departure of the Sabbath. According to tradition, the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) is believed to be the future harbinger of the Messiah’s arrival. The words are set here in the manner of a fugue, whose subject suggests a quasi-Hassidic tune. The traditional Yiddish greeting, a gute vokh (May you have a good week...) is included towards the end, and the setting draws to a climactic close on the word amen in a resolute and triumphal spirit.

In keeping with the Ashkenazi derivation of this work, the composer has set all of the texts according to classical Ashkenazi pronunciation and accentuation. This has been maintained in the present recording. Adjustment to modern Hebrew would require distortions of the rhythmic flow and consonant substitutions, and would preclude certain typical elisions—all of which would detract from the intended traditional eastern European flavor.

By: Neil W. Levin

 

Lyrics

SHALOM ALEIKHEM

Peace be with you, O ministering angels,
Angels of the Most High,
From the King, King of Kings,
The Holy One, Blessed is He.

May your coming be in peace, O angels of peace,
Angels of the Most High,
From the King, King of Kings,
The Holy One, Blessed is He.

Bless me with peace, O angels of peace,
Angels of the Most High,
From the King, King of Kings,
The Holy One, Blessed is He.

May your departure be in peace, O angels of peace,
Angels of the Most High,
From the King, King of Kings,
The Holy One, Blessed is He.

UV'NUḤO YOMAR
Translation: JPS Tanakh 1999

Numbers 10:36
And when it halted, he would say:
Return, O Lord,
You who are Israel’s myriads of thousands!

Psalms 132:8, 9, and 10
Advance, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and your mighty Ark!
Your priests are clothed in triumph; Your loyal ones sing for joy.
For the sake of Your servant David

Do not reject Your anointed one.

Proverbs 4:2
For I give you good instruction
Do not forsake my teaching

Proverbs 3:18, 17
She is a tree of life to those who grasp her,
And whoever holds on to her is happy.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths, peaceful.

Lamentation 5:21
Take us back, O Lord, to Yourself
And let us come back
Renew our days as of old.

MIMM'KOMO
Translation: Rabbi Morton M. Leifman

Blessed indeed is the glory of the Lord emanating from His abiding place (Ezekiel 3:12). From that abiding place may He turn to us in mercy, and be gracious to the people who with love proclaim His unity twice each day—morning and evening—saying the Shma.

HAVDALA
Translation: Birnbaum 1999

Behold, God is my deliverance; I will trust, and will not be afraid; truly the Lord is my strength and my song; he has delivered me indeed. Joyfully shall you draw upon the fountains of deliverance. It is for the Lord to bring help; my God, thy blessing be upon thy people. The Lord of hosts be with us; the God of Jacob is our Stronghold. Lord of hosts, happy is the man who trusts in thee. O Lord, save us; may the King answer us when we call. The Jews had light and joy, gladness and honor. So be it with us. I will take the cup of deliverance, and will call upon the name of the Lord.

ELIYAHU HANNAVI
Sung in Hebrew and Yiddish
Translation: Rabbi Morton M. Leifman

Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Gileadite—may he come speedily to us, together with [heralding] the Messiah, the son of David. A good week and a [mazl] week of good fortune. Amen.


 

Credits

Composer: Sholom Kalib

Length: 26:18
Genre: Choral

Performers: Chorus ViennensisNaftali Herstik, Tenor;  Vienna Boys ChoirVienna Chamber OrchestraGerald Wirth, Conductor

Date Recorded: 05/01/2001
Venue: Baumgartner Casino (C), Vienna, Austria
Engineer: Hughes, Campbell
Assistant Engineer: Hamza, Andreas
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

Publisher: Sholom Kalib

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