Friday, December 21, 2012

Yossele Rosenblatt

Guest post by Milken Music Archives

Music researchers often point to the great voice and expansive style of Yossele Rosenblatt when explaining cantorial music's influence on American Jewish ritual and worship since the early 20th century. Rosenblatt was recognized as one of the foremost tenors of the early 1900s, both in Europe and in America. Through his compositions, style and dedication to authentic liturgy he inspired audiences and, in doing so, helped to define Jewish liturgy in America. 

Even today, the Lowell Milken Archive, a leading force in American Jewish Music features Rosenblatt as one of the early dominant elements of American Judaism. Many of his most famous pieces, including Ram Venisa and Yevorech, are to this day extremely popular and often times heard in many synagogues around the world.

Yossele Rosenblatt had already built up a reputation as a superb Hazzan in the Ukraine, Germany, Hungary and other Eastern European Jewish centers when he immigrated to the United States in 1912. His arrival occurred during the period that millions of other Eastern European Jews were crossing the Atlantic to make new lives in America. Rosenblatt's "hazzanut" -- cantorial music -- was embraced by these Ashkanazi immigrants who were reminded of the traditional styles of worship of their homelands when they heard Rosenblatt singing.

Rosenblatt himself was strictly Orthodox and his music, as well as his personal behavior, reflected this commitment to traditional Judaism. He was a sought-after performer in many synagogues and Jewish venues though he held to the principle of never performing in a secular setting. Simple people, both Jews and non-Jews, sat together with the rich and famous for a chance to hear Rosenblatt's incredible voice which included brilliant cantillations and an ability to hit high notes at high speeds. He projected a structured, metered style which continues to influence cantors of all Jewish traditions till today. One of his best-known and most-loved techniques involved allowing his voice to break in the middle of an arrangement to convey the emotion of the piece.    

On more than one occasion Rosenblatt expressed his belief that his voice was a gift from God which Rosenblatt would use in His service.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Simcha Leiner's Video

Leiner has already a hit song - Kol Berama - and he now released a second song with the same concept. I rarely comment on individual songs, since I like to review a complete work like a CD, but both Kol Berama and this song showcase Leiner's style and good composition skills. Both songs stand out, while in the other hand the next thing to do is to get a top producer and work on a proper album. Mimamakim is not very well produced but it shows the potential of this song - add some good choir arrangements, a better instrumentation and holding back from excessive screaming he will soon be in the right track to fame. He has a great voice, great composing skills and an unusual range.

Benny Friedman’s Kulanu Nelech Album Review

Benny Friedman’s latest album, Kulanu, is out on Spotify, and as a paying subscriber I enjoyed listening to this album quite a bit, to the e...