Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hear, O Israel

“Leib Glantz [1898–1964] was born in the Ukranian city of Kiev. . . . Coming to America in 1926, he soon emerged as a performer and theoretician of synagogue music, using this knowledge in compositions and improvisations that exhibited an innovation bordering on the avant-garde. Reactions among his listeners alternated between admiration and puzzlement. Unfazed by such uneven reception to his art, he was quoted as saying, ‘I don’t perform for the audience; I perform for myself.’ . . . Glantz’s lyric tenor voice thrived in the high register, and its use in Sh’ma Yisro’el is typical. This passage begins with the primary liturgical declaration of Judaism; but here it is not intoned with dignity, solemnity, or even prayerfulness. Instead it is announced as a fanfare, evoking the primordial Biblical context of its first utterance. The ‘intellectual’ approach continues in the balance of the passage . . . but of course it is not just the mind that is stimulated in this piece. In Sh’ma Yisro’el the mood alternates between moments of reflection, stark outbursts, and sustained passion, which combine to deeply stir the soul.”  —Cantor Sam Weiss, from the booklet notes to Mysteries of the Sabbath – Classic Cantorial Recordings: 1907–47 (Yazoo 7002, 1994).



Leib Glantz • Sh’ma Visro’el • 1929

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