Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not Well-Composed?

The former cantor/music director at Central Synagogue of New York City has an opinion on synagogue music which he shared with the readers of the NYTimes:-

...Change has indeed occurred in Jewish music — but not toward “traditional” music (whatever that is). What you will hear today in American synagogues is a mixture of Hasidic-like tunes with an Eastern European sound; up-tempo 50s-like melodies and new up-tempo songs by young Jewish songwriters.

Unfortunately, well-composed and structured synagogue music is seldom heard. All of this, to make the worship accessible to the congregation. Time will tell if it was all for the best!

Richard Botton
Norwalk, Conn.

First, I don't think there is anything wrong or inferior with that type of music. After all, our great-grandfathers sung that basic type of music for 300 years or so in Eastern Europe.

In music, secondly, usually all is for the best for it's what makes people happy and involved in the davening.

I understand cantors are very self-conscious about their standing in the eys of the congregation but the idea is that he should be leading the service, not just performing.

Shlomo Carlebach had many more "congregants" than Cantor Botton and Reb Shloimeleh could also perform as a cantor.


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