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May 30, 1975 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-05-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

40 Friday, May 30, 1975


`Music of the Jews' is A Major Historical Work

A review


(Cantor Jacob Barkin is cantor at
Cong. Shaarev Zedek)

At the outset, Aron
Marko Rothmuller in his
foreword to "The Music of
the Jews," (published by A.
S. Barnes and Co.) emphati-
cally indicates his prime in-
tent — to present a compre-
hensive and informative
survey of the history of Jew-
ish music. He approaches
the subject wisely, in fur-
ther stating his desire to
"avoid all polemic, regard-
ing the nature or, for that
matter, the existence of
`Jewish music.' "
This in itself, may well be
the clue to his attainment in
producing a transparent
edition, yet by no means an
obvious nor shallow one. On
the contrary, that at some
sacrifice perhaps, he, better
than many others, has pro-
duced a clearly stated, pre-
-cisely worded work, span-
ning the millenia of history
in pure, concise, and whole-
some fashion.
. From the embryonic
stages, Rothmuller covers
the cradle-period of earliest
biblical times, as he traces
and reconstructs much of
the musicological origins

and early usage. In his own
manner, he carefully sifts
the positive and accepted,
and avoids the questionable
and still undocumented
areas. The result is gratify-

He immediately estab-
lishes a rapport and con-
fidence in the reader,
which furthers his desire
and interest in pleasant
anticipation. It is impossi-
ble to shut out compara-
tive reflections on a rather
familiar subject, yet I
found my admiration
growing as I continued to
appreciate the clarity, and
the focal imprints, within
the movement of time


Even though his prime
concentration is upon musi-
cal relationships, the reader
finds that he becomes the
Weizmann Institute recipient of a rather appar-
ent panoramic overview of
Aids Needy Youth
REHOVOT — Based on a general history, within
philosophy of extending which music played an im-
one-to-one educational and portant role for the Jewish
personal help to children people.
He proceeds with numer-
whose ability has been
thwarted by their social ous fascinating examples
environment, 60 Weizmann and in succinct narrative,
Institute volunteers are cites many uses and utiliza-
helping socially-disadvan- tions of the Psalms, in both
taged children in the Re- their instrumental and vocal
deliveries, in the worship.
hovot area.
The 60 10-12-year-olds All of these help immensely
who meet with their volun- in conveying the idea of
teer tutors twice a week are some order, and more im-
recommended for the pro- portantly the first forms of
gram by school principals, unison, responsive and poly-
counsellors and social work- phonic participation by de-
ers, who select children on sign.
Orchestra and Entertainment
Part Two of the book
the basis of the academic
potential they feel will be dwells on the post-Temple
lost unless they are given period and covers the Baby-
lonian and Gaonic eras, the
encouragement and help.
centuries in which the vast
orders of annotation and
Mr. & Mrs. Simon Cieck
codifications took place.



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Bearing in mind that the
service was for the major
part intoned and chanted,
the trope system truly rep-
resents the roots of the
source from which much of
today's model scales and
musical patterns were de-
It has been conceded that
since the Greeks tran-
scribed these and applied
them similarly, it is no acci-
dent that there is a parallel-
ism in parts of the refined
Gregorian chant, as the au-
thor demonstrates on page

It is very well docu-
mented in the following
segments, that major
strides in progress took
place in the ensuing centu-
ries, out of which some of
the greatest scholars com-
piled and formalized much
of the order, as it is known

The dispersion into the
European continent cast the
Jews into the time and clime
of vast religious unrest, and
as they re-settled in the var-
ious Western and Eastern
portions, they almost ines-
capably fell under the influ-
ences of the respective and
diverse native developments.
It is of some interest to
find that in the early 17th
Century, Salomone de
Rossi, a Jewish court musi-
cian, assembled the first
choral settings of the
Psalms and Sabbath service,
fully harmonized and often
in forms beyond the four-
part divisions.
Special attention might
be requested, that the
With the prohibition of reader absorb the'constant
instrumental music, there and recurring role that mu-
emerged the transferral of sic enjoyed, as it served and
emphasis upon the vocal imbued the worshipper with
expansions. He makes the spirit and total emotional
reader aware that actually envelopment. Within these
the function of the hazzan changing times, a similar
or cantor, as we know him depth and growth took
today, had his primary place.

image projected within
these years, as the central
functionary and leader in

As arts and sciences de-
veloped, religion and reli-
gious practices commen-
surately broadened. Here
the reader is apprised of
the appearance of song,
per se; as the Ladino, Has-
idic, folk, and into the fol-
lowing "Romantic" and
"operatic" poetry and

His treatment of the or-
ganization of the "tropes" or
"teamim" as we refer to
them in Hebrew, is quite
interesting and revealing,
and greatly helped by the
musical figures he includes.
The Yiddish language
While the average person grew in usage, and so Yid-
associates them with chant- dish song emerged, and
ing of the Torah, they really from it Yiddish theater in
served a much broader base musical form dominating
for more expansive struc- the scene for a number of
ture musically.

Israeli Cultural Ties Strengthened

JERUSALEM — Israel's
cultural ties with Europe
have been strengthened as a
result of a joint French-Is-
raeli history conference held
at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem recently.
Historians and art histo-
rians from the two coun-
tries met for three days to
exchange research findings
and views on "The City in
the Middle East in the 4th to
15th Centuries.
The French participants
came from the Sorbonne,
the Universities of Dijon

and Lyons, and the Ecole
Pratique des Hautes Etudes
in Paris.
The Israelis were from
the Hebrew University, Tel
Aviv University, Haifa Uni-
versity and the Ecole Bib-
lique in Jerusalem.
It was decided to expand
the activities of the Israeli
branch of the International
Association of Byzantine
Studies, headquartered in
Athens, and that Israel
should join the Interna-
tional Association for Mari-
time Studies based in Paris .

Synagogally we are
brought to awareness of the
Sulzer and Lewandowski
years of innovation, and al-
though rejected and re-
sented then, remain with us
prominently throughout the
universal congregational
music. Eastern European
music remained somewhat
more closely tied to the Or-
iental and Mideastern
strain, but in processes of
distillation, gives a most sig-

Salomon Aid
Never Re-Paid

fa . ni Salomon

Haym Salomon Stamp

The Encyclopaedia Amer-
icana claims that the U.S.
government owes American
Revolutionary War finan-
cier Haym Salomon more
than $350,000.
Salomon, a wealthy Pol-
ish Jewish banker, sub-
scribed heavily to govern-
ment loans, equipped
several American army
units and supported several
delegates to the Continental
Congress with his own
Neither he nor his heirs
were ever repaid, and Salo-
mon lived an impoverished
life until his death in 1785,
three years after the war of-
ficially ended.
Official records of his
loans were destroyed when
the British raided Philadel-
phia in 1814. The present
U.S. secretary of the Trea-
sury William E. Simon said
he knows of no claims by
any heirs, but would con-
sider any claim that might
be filed.

nificant treasury of musical
In the latter chapters, the
author speaks with com-
plete authority, and
emerges as the fine scholar
and musician that he is.

His evaluations of the
20th Century composers,
accompanied by collated
examples, serve to confirm
the deeply-rooted deriva-
tive sources, and become
most gratifying disclo-
sures. It is evident that the
most revolutionary discov-
eries and mathematics c
musical creation abountt-
within modern times.

His placement of the final
chapter, "On Jewish Music"
— his summation of the
enduring stamp, and eternal
tie of hundreds of genera-
tions, if not saturated, re-
main imbued and per-
meated with ancient and
sacred musical tradition
and heritage.
I would personally, and
with a strong bias, suggest
that religious musical in-
heritance may stand along-
side of the sanctity of reli-
gious literature and texts.
All of these combined, con-
tributed to the conception
and birth of Jewish music
and song.
I had the pleasure of
speaking with the author, a
member of the faculty, at
University of Indiana's mu-
sic department, prior to my
review. He has given us
one of the best among the
existing volumes, on a mul-
ti-faceted subject of a grow-
ing and constantly revealing
treasury — "Music of the




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