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Re: "Songs to the Invisible God" review...


I hope that Rootsworld appreciates your contribution.

A few comments.

The term trope (note spelling) is appropriately used for the chant of
all Hebrew scriptures.  Therefore, there is Torah trope and Haftorah
trope used on ordinary Shabbatot (not only trope for the Megilloth and
holidays).  Also, the trope for reading Torah on Yom Kippur is the
same as that used on Rosh Hashanah and therefore is usually identified
as High Holiday trope.

It would be helpful for you to translate "rachem".   It would also
strengthen your argument.


-----Original Message-----
From: Joel Bresler <jbresler (at) ma(dot)ultranet(dot)com>
To: World music from a Jewish slant <jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org>
Date: Sunday, March 19, 2000 11:35 PM
Subject: "Songs to the Invisible God" review...

>I am crafting a response to a slipshod review in Rootsworld of Ruth
>Magan's "Songs to the Invisible God". This is a draft; comments
welcome. I
>would much have preferred to see a review that just said, "I really
>disliked this recording" and explained why, rather than one that
munged the
>background so badly and then willy-nilly ascribed feelings to
>traditionalists and others.
>Read the original at:
>Dear friends:
>I write in response to Aaron Howard's review of Ruth Wieder Magan's
>to the Invisible God". Mr. Howard is free to hold whatever opinions
>likes about the recording, but he owes it to his readers and to the
>to get the basics right.
>He writes, "Jewish chant? There never was such an animal." This will
>a  surprise to Jewish congregations that have chanted from the Torah
>Five Books of Moses) and the Haftorah (the Prophets) every week for
>thousands of year. Not to mention the special chant systems, or trop,
>systems in use for sacred texts on holidays such as Purim, or Yom
>Later, "There is almost no tradition of a single voice being used to
>a meditative state in the listener." (Note to Jewish Music List-niks:
>could use some help here. Are niggunim ever chanted solo? Or other
>that contradict this statement?)
>And the topper, "So then why does Magan shape the text, particularly
>three time repetition of the Hebrew word 'lachen' (which can be
>as 'therefore') as she does on this recording? Improvisation is most
>apparent when it fails and it seems to do so as the singer chooses
this one
>word as the highlight of the performance when it is clearly not the
>highlight of the text.
>Not if one doesn't bring a heightened awareness of Jewish text to the
>table. Those who have grounding in Hebrew or the Jewish religious
texts and
>those who have an understanding of 'Haben Yakir Li' as a mainstay of
>Yemenite religious expression will have difficulties with Magan's
>This are two amazing paragraphs. First, Magan is repeating the Hebrew
>"rachem", not "lachem." "Lachem" does not appear in the text. Second,
>is not improvising the repetition, since it is present in the
>composition as sung by Rabbi Yitzhak Algazi. I would leave it to the
>reknowned composer and rabbinical scholar Rabbi Algazi rather than
>Howard to decide whether that word is or is not worthy of repetition.
>last, Rabbi Algazi was from Izmir and the Turkish tradition, rather
>All told, time to start over and try again.
>Joel Bresler
>Joel Bresler
>250 E. Emerson Rd.
>Lexington, MA 02420 USA
>Home:           781-862-2432
>Home Office:    781-862-4104
>FAX:            781-862-0498
>Email:          jbresler (at) ma(dot)ultranet(dot)com
jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org ---------------------+

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