08. ASK 20th Anniversary Concert

Live at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

CD: ASK 20th Anniversary Concert
Live at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
1. Lechoh Doudi (Victor Schlesinger) [Listen]
2. Ki Sheishes Yomim (Anton Berlijn) [Listen]
3. Avinu Shebashamayim (Sol Zim) [Listen]
4. Birkous Chanukoh
5. Haneirous Halolu (Zavel Zilberts) [Listen]
6. Mongouz Tsur
7. Vayhi Binsou'ang (Anton Berlijn)
8. Vezous Hatouroh (Anton Berlijn)
9. Yehallalu (Anton Berlijn)
10. Ngeits Chayim (Victor Schlesinger)
11. Eileh Ezkeroh (Pierre Pinchik)
12. Kol Doudi (David Nowakowsky)
13. Habeit Mishomayim (Wolf Bogzsester)
14. Birkas Kouhanim (Abraham Katz)
15. Mizmour Shir (Oscar Julius)

About this Recording

This CD contains a live recording of our succesful Chanukah concert from last year, in honour of the choir's 20th anniversary. The concert took place in the famous "Concertgebouw" recital hall of Amsterdam with the participation of Cantor Moshe Haschel from London. You still may have a look at some nice pictures from this event.

About the Music

Before the 2nd World War, the Amsterdam synagogue had a rich and unique music tradition. The Jewish composer Anton Berlijn (1817 - 1870) made his name not only as a composer of songs and opera's but also by writing many moving choral pieces for the synagogue. This colourful chazzanut (synagogue music) with a clear romantic air, earned Berlijn plaudits from the then Chief Rabbi Schaap, as well as a silver medal from King Willlem III. Another key figure in the pre-war chazzanut world, was Victor Schlesinger (1885 -1939). This Hungarian born personality was cantor for the Amsterdam Rapenburger synagogue, prior to being chosen as chief cantor of Manchester (UK). Schlesinger proved himself as an excellent composer; there was no better proponent in melding melodies, contrasting rhythms and modern harmonies to enliven age-old Jewish texts. Especially noteworthy was the choir of the "Grote Synagoge" in Amsterdam, under the baton of Sam Englander (1896 - 1943). This intimate male choir, with its rich sounds that sublimely interpreted the Amsterdam Chazzanut of Berlijn and Schlesinger, was chosen as the best synagogue choir at an international competition in London in 1928. A successful recording followed, with broadcasts on American radio, of which a record has been preserved.

Background information on some of the pieces

Haneirous Halolu
by Zavel Zilberts. "We kindle these lights on account of the miracles, the deliverances that You have performed for our fathers…". This passage is recited immediately after the kindling of the Chanukah lights. Commemorating the victory of the Hasmoneans over the Greek in the time of the second Temple in Jerusalem, it praises G-d for the miracles He had performed for them. In this beautiful lilting melody, Zilberts conveys a mood of festivity and majesty.
Ngeits Chayim
by Victor Schlesinger. This elegant composition by the beloved Amsterdam cantor and composer, very aptly sets the tone for the return of the Torah scroll to the Holy Ark which is a high point in the service. A stress is made on the verse "Turn us unto You, O Lord, and we shall return" (Lam. 5:21).
Eileh Ezkeroh
by Pierre Pinchik. "These do I remember". From the Yom Kippur service. Few prayers create the awesome solemnity as does Eileh Ezkeroh which is the beginning of the "Martyrology", a detailed account of the unbearably cruel fate of the "Ten Martyrs". These were ten rabbis who were killed by the Romans towards the end of the second Temple period, who sought to destroy the faith and the spirit of Israel.
Kol Doudi
by David Nowakowsky. A beautiful setting to these verses from the Song of Songs "The voice of my beloved, here it comes, skipping over the mountains jumping over the hills". This, as indeed the whole of the Song of Songs, is an allegory to the loving relationship between G-d and Israel. It tells us how G-d, at the end of days will overlook our transgressions (the mountains and the hills) and will come towards us in love to redeem us.
Habeit Mishomayim
by Wolf Bogzsester. A supplicatory prayer from the weekday Morning Service. Some attribute it to King Hezekiah of the first Temple. It implores G-d: "Look from heaven and see how we have become a scorn and derision among the nations; we are accounted as sheep brought to the slaughter to be slain and destroyed. Yet despite all this, we have not forgotten Your Name, we beseech You forget us not."
Mizmour Shir
by Oscar Julius. Psalm 30, composed by King David for the inauguration of the first Temple. It is customary to recite it on the Festival of Chanukah which commemorates also the rededication of the second temple after the Hasmonean victory.
Avinu Shebashamayim
by Sol Zim. Prayer for the welfare of the state of Israel. This setting was composed for the 40th anniversary of the state of Israel.