In finearts, music, videos
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The Glory of the German Jewish Musical Tradition

February 3rd at 6 pm and Saturday, February 4th at 10.30 am Sermon in Song and Lecture after Kiddush at 1 pm

With this short slide presentation we can experience the glorious audio sounds and visual structure of the once incredible community of German Jewry and its tradition which emanated from that corner of the world.

Imagine the royalty of the music, its dignity within the structure of Berlin’s nineteenth century “Neue Synagogue”. The magnificent Oedipus of the Hannover Moorish Synagogue structure which was the largest house of worship in Hannover and stood as a symbol of tolerance in the street called “Toleranten Strasse”. The building stood between the Protestant and Catholic Church, all of which went up in flames during Kristahlnacht, November 9, 1938.

But we are here as witnesses of survival, renewal and rebirth, proud of our German Jewish musical tradition celebrating and reliving the memories of those great composers whose talent and passion for Jewish music was not extinguished in spite of evil times. Portraits of a few of these composers are our inheritance we treasure so much as their music became the backbone of our Ashkenazi tradition all over the world. Louis Lewandowski of Berlin, Solomon Sulzer of Vienna and Israel Myer Japhet of Frankfurt left us monumental towers of invaluable treasures. Their music was radiated and sung by the glorious golden voices of the Cantors of that period. Cantor Manfred Lewandowski served as Oberkantor (Chief Cantor) of Berlin. My Uncle, the revered Oberkantor, Israel Alter, served the Hannover community between 1925 – 1935 when he fled to South Africa, later to become the Dean of Cantorial Arts at the Hebrew Union College in New York City. Before World War II, Joseph Schmidt was one of the most celebrated recording vocal artists in Germany and Austria. His greatest success was during the rise of Nazi Germany who subsequently prohibited Jewish artists and writers from working. He toured the USA and sang in Carnegie Hall. He became famous and popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. Being captured and transported to a refugee camp his health failed and he perished in November 1942.

Many of these stories will come alive during my lecture on Shabbat Shira, February 4 at 1 pm
I would love to see you and greet you personally.

Beny Maissner

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