Is it too obvious to begin a discussion of an album of Passover music with the question: What makes this album different from all others? The newest release from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music contains a compelling mix of old and new, known and obscure musical settings pertaining to the Passover holiday. As part of the series Cycle of Life in Synagogue and Home: Prayers and Celebrations Throughout the Jewish Year (Volume 4), the collection highlights the nature of a holiday that is playful a...
If you’re in the midst of planning a wedding you’ve probably already started thinking about one of the occasion’s most important components: music. And not just the klezmer band to kick off the party after the crushing of the glass, but music during the ceremony to accompany the processionals and the lighting of candles, to segue between different parts of the ceremony. The freylakhs and bulgars—and, of course, the hora—are a lot of fun and should by no means be dismissed, but often it...
A singing of angels.
That's the title of one of two works by composer Charles Davidson that you'll find in Volume 20 from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience. And it's also an apt description of what you'll encounter throughout this collection of pieces featuring the voices of children.
The sound of children's voices has been a part of Jewish music for millennia. Young boys sang in the choruses of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, and in the synagogue choirs that flouris...
Few Jewish holidays generate as much good cheer among Jews and non-Jews alike as Hanukka. And it's easy to see why: The Festival of Lights has it all, from fried treats and fun props (donuts and dreidels, anyone?) to some of the best songs of the holiday season.
Those songs appear in many guises in the latest offering from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience. This double-album set of Hanukkah music is the first installment in Volume 4, which covers the vast trove of music...
Get ready for a heavy dose of soul music. Jewish soul music, that is.
That's one way, at least, of looking at Volume 3 from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience. SEDER T’FILLOT (literally, "order of the prayers") is devoted to the musical soul of the Jewish people: the prayers that for millennia have been central to Jewish spirituality.
Music has always been a vital part of Jewish worship, and for good reason. Rabbis who long ago established the order and content of th...
Go big, or go home.
That could well be the unofficial motto of Volume 17 from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience. The Archive, which marks the release of the 17th of its 20 volumes on July 2nd, contains plenty of works with a dramatic component, from Yiddish musicals to full-blown operas. But if it's spectacle and grandeur and sheer artistic ambition you're after, Odes and Epics: Dramatic Music of Jewish Experience is the place to find it.
"Spectacle" is one of many term...
The subject of Volume 18 from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience may be secular Jewish choral art in America, but the story behind the selections goes deeper than that.
A lot deeper.
The history of Jewish choral music stretches back to antiquity. Some of the earliest Jewish music was performed by choirs of Levites at the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. The psalms they sang inspired liturgical music by Jewish and Christian composers for millennia to come.
Yet secular Jew...
Can one fashion art from unspeakable evil?
That conundrum lies at the heart of Volume 19 from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience. And it is one with which many American Jewish artists have wrestled.
"Is it possible to write songs about Auschwitz, or, even more important, is it permitted to do so?" composer Gershon Kingsley asks in the spoken narration to Voices from the Shadow, a collection of songs based on poetry written by Holocaust victims and survivors.
Imagine what would happen if millions of aliens—industrious, adaptable, and not entirely English-speaking—suddenly landed in the United States and began remaking both themselves, and the country as a whole.
That's essentially what happened during the last two decades of the 19th century and the first two of the 20th, when more than two million Jews left Eastern Europe and came to America in search of a better life. Much extraordinary music resulted from that vast migration, samples of which...
Dave Brubeck, one of the best known and loved jazz artists of all time, died today at age 91, just one day shy of his 92nd birthday.
In a career that spanned more than six decades, Brubeck was celebrated as a performer, band leader and composer. The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five” is one of the most popular jazz recordings of all time, and Brubeck compositions such as “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “The Duke” have become jazz standards. Brubeck also composed works that explored th...
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