This Is Jewish Music, Too

  • Wall Street Journal

Some years ago, Charles and Robyn Krauthammer were discussing a conundrum: To many who knew about Jewish or Hebraic music, their conception was limited to three things: Klezmer (the infectious Yiddish dance-band music with its weeping clarinet skirls); Israeli folk music typified by “Hava Nagila,” the ubiquitous wedding dance tune; and synagogue music for cantor, choir or congregation. Yet the rich repertoire of Jewish classical music was generally unknown. By “Jewish classical music,” the Krauthammers were thinking of concert music—art music composed by Jews (or even non-Jews) that shares a common inspiration in the ancient modes, melodies and sometimes Hebrew and Yiddish texts of traditional Jewish culture in Europe, the eastern Mediterranean region and beyond.

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