Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture

Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture

Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture

Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture

Synopsis

Music historian Irene Heskes takes a topical and chronological approach to present an exhaustive examination of the history, form and meaning of Jewish musical traditions. Chapters include: Documenting the Heritage; Bible, Liturgy, and Cantorial Art; The Musical Heritage of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry; Music of Mysticism and Piety; The Yiddish Musical World of Eastern Europe; The Holocaust Era; America; The Music of Zion and Israel; Composers and Compositions; and Women.

Excerpt

History belongs to those who leave behind a clear record. As mankind approaches the twenty-first century, various mischievous denials have emerged: denials that the Holocaust ever happened; denials of Jewish cultural and intellectual achievements, and denials as to Judaism's companionable place alongside Christianity, Islam, and the other world religions. I am a historian of music, and the purpose of this book is to present a survey of Jewish music in order to illuminate its special role as a mirror of history, traditions, and cultural heritage. This volume, therefore, is a purposeful documentary record presenting a survey of a particular form of individual and collective artistic expression, as created and practiced over millennia. The arts interpret life and celebrate human existence, and it is a function of those arts to serve historical memory.

The contents are based upon the authors lectures and writings, products of several decades of dedicated study and scholarly labors in the field of Jewish music. Sectioned into ten different part headings, are thirty-four chapters placed in a modified chronological order to present a historical sweep of musical developments. A wide range of subject matter has been treated in each of those chapters. Part I opens with a first chapter significant contributions by collectors of Jewish music as well as some important repositories of unique collections. Chapter two details the valuable achievements of two leading figures in Jewish musicological research and publication (Abraham Zvi Idelsohns and Gershon Ephros), noting the influence of their warm personal friendship on their activities. Indeed, many other mutually encouraging relationships between leading scholars and musicians appear to have resulted in valuable endeavors on behalf of Jewish music; examples are cited throughout this book. In the third chapter, six such leaders are discussed: Henry G. Farmer, Curt Sachs, Alfred Sendrey, Egon Wellesz, Eric Werner, and Joseph Yasser.

The next four chapters, as Part II, cover a substantial range of music directly related to Jewish religious expression. Within the subject area of the biblical heritage, attention is drawn to studies made by Carl H. Cornill, Carl Engel, Carl H. Kraeling . . .

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