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Stephan Lutermann & Assaf Levitin: Synagogue Organ Music; Reciting Prayers
Composed by Anonymous, Arno Nadel, Ernst August Beyer, Hugo Schwantzer, Joseph Sulzer, Max Wolf, Siegfried Wurzburger, David Nowakowsky, and Heinrich Schalit. Classical. Hybrid SACD. Naxos #555127-2. Published by Naxos (NX.555127-2).
Item Number: NX.555127-2
Throughout the centuries, from its first pictorial representation in a Bohemian devotional book in 1494 until the present day, the synagogue organ has been regarded as an unusual phenomenon. Although the use of keyboard instruments for the accompaniment of the Jewish liturgy in Europe can be traced back to the beginnings of the Early Modern period, a more distinctive solo repertoire for them did not come about until they more frequently began to appear in synagogues during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in conjunction with contemporary religious, cultural, and musical developments within the Jewish Diaspora in Central Europe. The works selected for this album reflect the history of this organ repertoire from Central Europe, parts of Eastern Europe, and the United States, where many composers sought refuge in order to escape persecution from the National Socialists. On our recording the works are presented in chronological order and offer insights into the most important stylistic developments in this organ repertoire. Stephan Lutermann interprets these works by composers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on the organ in the Verden Cathedral. Assaf Levitin, who was trained as an opera singer and currently serves as the cantor of the Liberal Jewish Community in Hanover, interprets the Jewish songs belonging to the particular organ works.