October 06, 2015
Like many other faiths and belief systems, Jewish religious life is marked by a regular, recurring rhythm, one of prescribed dates and hours comprising the daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and human life span observances, rituals, liturgical occasions, and ceremonies, all of which may be understood as part of the overarching cycle of Jewish life. The Milken Archive’s Volume 4: Cycle of Life in Synagogue and Home surveys the musical component of this life cycle with music that is sacred and se...
August 11, 2015
Diverse repertoire highlights various ways in which composers and worshipers connect to faith and heritage.
The Milken Archive continues building out its comprehensive collection with three new albums featuring vocal and choral works, chamber music, and liturgical settings for the Sabbath day.
From Samuel Adler and Ralph Shapey, Volume 17, Album 8: Choose Life and The Covenant, comprises two extended works: one a mediations on choice and responsibility; the other a painful inquiry on the crisis...
June 23, 2015
Musical memorials to the Holocaust tread on sensitive ground. On one hand, they perform a crucial function for humanity’s collective memory. On the other hand, there is significant risk of belittling the topic in the name of artistic expression. Two composers who have successfully navigated the risky waters of this endeavor to produce musically significant works with dignity and veneration are Charles Davidson and Sheila Silver. A newly released album from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music’...
June 09, 2015
For composers, Jewish history and the bible are gifts that keep on giving. Case in point: two very different but equally engaging recordings recently added to the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience in Volume 17, Odes and Epics: Dramatic Music of Jewish Experience.
Leading off is Robert Starer’s six-movement dramatic cantata, Ariel: Visions of Isaiah. Comprising settings of selected verses from the Book of Isaiah, the piece presents a condensed narrative of Isaiah’s visio...
May 12, 2015
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.
Two new albums out this month from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience focus on music for the Sabbath—the occasi...
April 14, 2015
Musical Prayer Settings Illustrate Continuum of Tradition and Innovation in the American Diaspora
In the annual cycle of events marking the Jewish calendar, few loom as large as the High Holy Days. Known in Hebrew as the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe), the High Holy Days consume a 10-day period, commencing on the Sabbath before Rosh Hashana with S’lihot and concluding on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
A new album featuring High Holy Day liturgical settings from the Milken Archive of Jewish M...
April 14, 2015
Two commissions from the 1960s stand as giants in composer’s diverse oeuvre
Yehudi Wyner is among the most decorated and celebrated contemporary American composers. With more than 100 works to his credit, he has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts to name a few, has won a Pulitzer Prize (2006), and in 2014 was named President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Wyner’s career has also been marked by consistent engagem...
March 10, 2015
When most people hear the words “folk rock service for the Sabbath eve,” one name will come to mind. That is name is typically not Raymond Smolover. Yet, before there was Debbie Friedman, before Craig Taubman or Rick Recht or any of the myriad folk-rock oriented singer-songwriters of Jewish liturgical music, there was Raymond Smolover. In the 1960s, Smolover composed and produced two folk-rock synagogue services—Edge of Freedom and Gates of Freedom—that (unbeknownst to him at the time) f...
February 03, 2015
Album of Organ Music Features Synagogue Pieces by Bloch and Milhaud
There is a commonly held assumption that the adoption of the organ into American synagogue worship was an act of assimilation. That is, that in order to appear more American, synagogues aimed to make their music sound more like that of their Christian compatriots. Two 2012 releases by the Milken Archive of Jewish Music featured Jewish liturgical music of American Reform congregation from the mid–late 19th century through the b...
January 06, 2015
Given the fact that the history of Jewish music in America spans centuries and includes a broad range of artistic approaches, it seems only fitting that the two new albums released this month by the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience span decades and include a sacred service, a cantata, and two secular classical works that commemorate the Holocaust.
While the collective repertoire of American Jewish sacred music contains dozens of synagogue services composed for large orch...
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