Funny, That Doesn’t Sound Jewish

October 2017

Program Notes

Kaddish Shaleym   Salamone Rossi
  * * * * * * *  
Dirmi che piú non ardo   Rossi
  * * * * * * *  
Am Karfreitag, Op. 79, No. 6   Felix Mendelssohn
  * * * * * * *  
Zion Streckt Ihr Hände Aus from Elijah   Mendelssohn/arr. J. Miller
  * * * * * * *  
Missa Morus (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus/Benedictus, Agnus)   Elliot Levine
  * * * * * * *  
Haynt iz Purim, brider   Mordkhe Rivesman/ Abraham Goldfaden/arr. J. Miller
  * * * * * * *  
Steppin' Out with My Baby   Irving Berlin/arr. Deke Sharon
  * * * * * * *  
They Say It's Wonderful   Irving Berlin/arr.Steve Zegree
  * * * * * * *  
Give Me Hunger   Stacy Garrop
  * * * * * * *  
Hava Nagila   Stacy Garrop
  * * * * * * *  
"Soave é il vento" from Cosi fan Tutte   Mozart/Lorenzo da Ponte/ arr. J Miller
  * * * * * * *  
Be Thou My Vision   Trad. Irish Melody, arr. Lee R. Kesselman
  * * * * * * *  
Mi Shebeirach   Joshua Fishbein
  * * * * * * *  
A Prep-School Boy   Fishbein
  * * * * * * *  
Let him kiss me   Jonathan Miller
  * * * * * * *  
Celtic Chassidic Kaddish    Miller
  * * * * * * *  
Free At Last   Max Janowski
  * * * * * * *  
Sim Shalom   Janowski/arr. J Miller
  * * * * * * *  
encore:  Almighty Father   Leonard Bernstein



With this program, we explore the experiences of Jewish composers throughout the centuries. In some cases, we don’t know much about them, and we will learn of them simply through their music. In other cases, something useful has been written about the composer—or, even better, the composer is alive and willing to tell us about composing!

You might say that this concert is an ode to the joys of being flexible and adaptable, of being able to negotiate different social spheres, and of what linguists now call “code-switching”— talking the talk of the various communities that we each inhabit, in this case both Jewish and more mainstream worlds. Minorities of all stripes are familiar with this phenomenon. In today’s concert, we get to see and hear how it plays out in the lives of a dozen composers, whose music sounds, at times, either more or less Jewish. Seven of those composers are represented with multiple songs apiece, which allow us to get a taste of those composers’ musical palettes both within and outside Jewish contexts.

These are some of the questions that I had when we first came up with the idea for this concert:

  • What makes a nice Jewish boy want to write a piece of high-church liturgical music in Latin?
  • Does a piece of music sound more Jewish just because it’s in Hebrew?
  • What does it mean for a piece of music to “sound Jewish,” anyway?
  • Who gets to be counted as a Jewish composer or librettist?
  • How much “code-switching” (see above) do Jewish composers have to do? What are the results?

This concert attempts to answer some of these questions. Even if the answers are bound to be incomplete, the questions create an interesting lens through which to view history and culture.
People are often curious about what drives a composer to create a piece of music in a particular way. One of the great joys of working with living (and recent) composers is that we can learn their stories either directly or indirectly. Spoiler alert: sometimes the creation of a piece of music that “sounds Jewish” (or not) is simply a result of (a) the circumstances under which the piece was composed and (b) the choice of a text, and not anything particularly wrenching about enduring prejudice or persecution.

I like to think that human beings have not changed that much over the millennia. I sometimes wish I could take Palestrina, Rossi, or Mendelssohn out for a beer and see what they would say about singers and about working for the church or synagogue. I would ask each composer things like this: Is your boss (the rabbi or priest, or maybe a bishop or cardinal) a pompous narcissist, and if so, what bearing does that have on what you wrote? Are your singers able to perform the music you hear in your head? If not, what do you do?

As for the very nerdy question of what makes something actually sound “Jewish,” we tend to have rather unconscious filters that do that. Josh Fishbein has helped me identify some of what we think we are hearing when we hear something that “sounds Jewish.” One might think of a minor key, a melodic style that mostly has one word per syllable, a scale that might have a “flat 2” and a “sharp 3” tones, like the well-known Ahava Rabah melodic phrase, also known in Yiddish as a freygish melody.

You will see in the musical notes of the program how articulate our community of composers is. It is wonderful to be able to reach out to colleagues who not only write beautiful music but also write beautifully and thoughtfully about their work as musicians. Not everyone can do both.

This program has never been a neatly wrapped package, coming as it did as an idea that seemed (and still seems) well worth exploring, even if we didn’t know at the outset quite where it was going to go. I appreciate the willingness of our board and staff, especially Matt Greenberg, to indulge these ideas that are a little harder than others to describe and market. You also have my thanks that you were curious enough to see what we’d bring you this time. Your loyalty is what allows us to do this work in the first place.

Enjoy the show.

—Jonathan Miller
    Founder and Artistic Director


NOTES ON THE MUSIC by Jonathan Miller

Salamone Rossi: Kaddish Shaleym
There are several versions of the Kaddish prayer, which serve as structural markers in the worship service. The most familiar is the Mourner’s Kaddish, although that prayer is almost never sung. More commonly sung are the “chatzi” (half) Kaddish and this one, the “full” Kaddish, also known as the Kaddish Shaleym or Kaddish Titkabal. There is nothing mournful in the text at all; the words simply extol and praise God in dozens of different ways. Salamone Rossi wrote this version of the Hebrew prayer in five voice parts. As a result, the texture is much like a five-voice madrigal, something you might hear written by Gastoldi in Italy or by Thomas Morley or Orlando Gibbons in England. The main things that help it to sound Jewish are the minor key and, of course, the Hebrew text. However, just like any madrigal in triple-time, it has to dance!

Salamone Rossi: Dirmi che piú non ardo
This is an actual five-voice madrigal with Italian text, printed early in Rossi’s career in his Primo libro de madrigali in the opening years of the 1600s. The text is by one of the more fashionable poets known in the Mantuan court. Rossi does not do anything exotic here but rather stays much within the stylistic norms of the time. The remarkable thing here is that a Jewish composer was given sufficient patronage to have the leisure to compose and especially to have his publication underwritten by someone; music publishing then, as now, was an expensive undertaking.

Felix Mendelssohn: Am Karfreitag, Op. 79, No. 6
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was the grandson of one of the most significant Jewish thinkers in German Jewish history, the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, who was considered the top mind in the Jewish Enlightenment. Moses encouraged Jews to take part in secular (German) education and to learn German literature, which was new for the Jewish community there. Partly through his influence, Jewish literary and cultural salons proliferated in Berlin, and the question of what rights Jews should and could have was a hot topic of debate.
It was not until 1791, as part of the French Revolution, that Jews had ever been given full rights as citizens in any European state, and things were even more precarious in Prussia, where the Mendelssohns lived and worked. In 19th-century Germany, as in many other times and places, being an overt practitioner of Judaism significantly limited one’s professional prospects.
On March 11, 1812, it was decreed in Berlin that Jews were to be given full rights as citizens. There were strings attached: Jews were required to learn German (not just Yiddish), and it was strongly encouraged that they convert to Protestantism. Moses had six children: two retained the Jewish faith, two became Roman Catholic, and the other two, including Felix’s father Abraham, converted to Lutheranism. It remains a messy picture, because Felix’s mother Lea (née Salomon), who was also born Jewish, converted with her husband Abraham in 1822, when Felix was already an adult. According to one scholar, Felix’s mother Lea did not see conversion to Christianity as a repudiation of her Judaism; indeed, she viewed Christianity as within the “universalization of Judaism.” This is a rather broad-minded view, given the times.
Mendelssohn wrote this Good Friday Psalm as part of his Opus 79, a set of six a cappella motets for double choir. They were composed in 1843-44, toward the end of his life, when he was working for the Staats- und Dom-chor, a famous boys’ choir at the Berlin cathedral. This is an austere, simple setting, a far cry from the long-breathed lines of his oratorio writing.

Mendelssohn: Zion Streckt Ihr Aus from Elijah 
This sweet, plaintive duet from the oratorio Elijah shows Mendelssohn in a tender vein. Mendelssohn wrote to his friend Julius Schubring, who ended up writing the work’s libretto, of his fascination with the character of Elijah. Mendelssohn said that he himself wished to be a prophet for his own time, "strong, eager, and also evil and angry and sinister." These aren’t things we typically associate with Mendelssohn, but his intent to produce a dramatic and compelling work certainly succeeded.

Elliot Levine: Missa Morus (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus/Ben.,Agnus)
Elliot Levine is a singer, composer, arranger, and conductor. For many years based in New York City, he now lives in southern California. He has been the baritone for the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble since its inception in 1969, an incredible track record. He has been awarded five Meet the Composer grants and has received many other commissions and awards.
A versatile and flexible musician, Levine wrote the Missa Morus when he was a singer at the famous St Thomas More school in Manhattan. He writes thoughtfully about the experience of being a composer:
Being a composer to me means being moved and interested in the texts and musical heritage that one is surrounded by in a particular situation. I wouldn't want to be pigeonholed as a “Jewish” composer. Salamone Rossi wrote 37 settings of Hebrew texts but, mainly, he wrote 250 Italian madrigals and many trio sonatas.
I am interested and moved by the texts and prayers of my religion and cultural heritage. I love much of the panoply of music written over the ages for those texts. So when I am setting a Jewish text, I throw that into the mental mix and sometimes am affected by history and sometimes not. Sometimes I deliberately try not to fall into typical modalities and styles and just see where the text takes me on a journey. There are many stereotypes that one can choose to ignore or use.
When writing church music I feel free-er to delve into myself. Of course one is then in the great shadow of the heritage of master composers who have set the same texts. When I sang for eighteen years in The Church of St. Thomas More I had the opportunity to write and get things performed and learn from that process. It was daunting to have my name listed alongside Palestrina. Lassus and Mozart. I was always trying to learn from those great examples what "worked" in terms of melody, harmony, voicing etc. I first started doing Psalm settings in a nearby temple job because I didn't think much of the contemporary setting we were working on. I brought them into church for a tryout and then brought them into temple where they also became regular repertoire.
So perhaps the final question is "Does my church music sometimes sound Jewish?" I don't really think so, but perhaps I'm not seeing it.  I especially don't think the Missa Morus does, but perhaps some other pieces have something that could be considered so.  Having sung a wide variety of repertoires for many years, I hope I have developed a sense of what is "good" according to my particular standards.  I have sung tons of third-rate music from many traditions,  and that is a tremendously useful experience for a composer. Why is this piece boring and lifeless?  Why can't I wait till it's over?  I have quite a few pieces of mine which are in that category and are in the back folder of a file drawer. Every once in a while I look at them again and affirm that this is the correct place for them.

trad. Yiddish melody, arr. Jonathan Miller: Haynt iz Purim, Brider
Irving Berlin, arr. Deke Sharon:  Steppin’ Out with My Baby

Purim is one of the most joyous festivals in the Jewish year. It occurs in midwinter, between Chanukah and Passover. On Purim, we read the entire scroll (the whole megillah) of the Book of Esther. Part of the fun is using noisemakers (greggers) to drown out the name of Haman, the villain in the Esther story, every time it is read. And how appropriate that this tune was penned by another Mordecai (Esther’s father in the Purim story), Mordecai Rivesman, with help from Abraham Goldfaden.
And what popular song seems to rise straight from this Yiddish melody? One of Irving Berlin’s greatest hits, Steppin’ Out, that’s what! To connect the two songs, our own Jonathan Miller has put together a musical “scene” that shows one way Berlin might have taken the Purim song in 1948 and turned it into a hit for Easter Parade. (There are even melodic parallels between the second half of Haynt iz Purim and Puttin’ on the Ritz.) Jonathan has given a swing element to the Yiddish song, which makes the distance between the two tunes very small indeed.

Irving Berlin, arr. Steve Zegree: They Say It’s Wonderful

A song that perhaps doesn’t sound so Jewish, this tune from Annie Get Your Gun (1946) feels mostly like an American Songbook classic pure and simple. If we were digging deep for Jewish sounds, we might notice some of the flatted notes in the melody, such as in the second time we hear the word “wonderful.” Judge for yourself! Irving Berlin wrote the song, along with “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” and “I Got the Sun in the Morning,” in a single weekend. The arrangement is by the late Steve Zegree, the internationally renowned arranger and musician who taught vocal jazz at Western Michigan and Indiana Universities.

Stacy Garrop: Give Me Hunger

An award-winning composer who recently left academia to compose full-time, Stacy Garrop is one of Chicago’s brightest lights in the classical-music world. She composed Give Me Hunger on a text by Chicago’s own Carl Sandburg. She was originally inspired to work with Sandburg’s poetry after hearing Chicago a cappella perform Prayers of Steel, composed by the late Jerry Troxell on a poem from Sandburg’s collection Cornhuskers. She writes:

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American author known for his hard, unflinching observations that allow readers to experience Sandburg’s pride, distain, love, hatred, and sympathy for humanity through his works. In particular, his poetry grasps the best and worst of mankind, from the noblest aspirations of man to the subjugation of the poor, as well as to the trials and tribulations of the working class. Very few poems exhibit his softer side, and even fewer reflect his thoughts on love. At a Window (the poem’s original title) is one of these rare gems in his body of work. Sandburg starts the poem angrily, challenging the forces that control the universe to take away all that he has; this anger quickly gives way to a surprising gentleness as he asks for love in place of all else. In my piece (titled Give Me Hunger, drawn from the first line of text), I reflect Sandburg’s enraged voice with a relentless ostinato (a repeating gesture) coupled with dissonant chords; for the poem’s softer side, I employ rich, lush harmonies to anticipate the "coming of a little love.”

This original version of the piece, for male voices only (including falsetto altos and sopranos) was commissioned by Chanticleer. Chicago a cappella’s performance marks the premiere of the mixed-voice version.

Stacy Garrop: Hava Nagila

Although Stacy Garrop grew up in a very observant Jewish household, she had not done much with Jewish themes as a composer until Chicago a cappella commissioned her to write two pieces on Jewish texts for the ensemble’s fifteenth anniversary season. The works are Lo Yisa Goy and Hava Nagila. To the extent that any piece can be said to sound Jewish, Hava Nagila probably fills the bill; but what Stacy Garrop does with it is surprising and delightful. She has the tune emerge slowly out of a muddy texture with random rhythms, almost the musical equivalent of a fish walking up on land. Once the tune is established, she plays with it further in stops and starts, before moving to a grand finish.


Lorenzo da Ponte and W. A. Mozart, arr. Jonathan Miller: Soave sia il vento from Cosí fan tutte
As it turns out, Mozart’s famous librettist was born Jewish! Emanuele Conegliano was born in 1749 in the Jewish ghetto of Ceneda near Venice, to Geremia Conegliano, a leather tanner, and his wife Rachele. Emanuele was the eldest of three sons born to the couple. Rachele died when Emanuele was five years old. At age thirteen, Emanuele was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah. A year later, in 1763, his father Geremia wished to marry a Catholic girl, but marriage between Jews and Catholics was forbidden.
The practical solution was for Geremia to convert, so father and sons all did so. The priest doing the conversion was Monsignor Lorenzo da Ponte, so the eldest boy took on the same name for his new Catholic identity. The next year he was enrolled in seminary to receive a full classical education, something no Jew in Venice could have obtained.
Having become embroiled in politics—and not on the side of the Inquisition—da Ponte left Venice for Vienna, where he arrived in 1781 and secured the post of poet to the Italian theater there. Two years later he met Mozart, and three years later The Marriage of Figaro was premiered. The final collaboration between the two was the 1791 opera Cosí fan tutte, from which this beautiful trio for solo voices is taken.

Lee Kesselman: Be Thou My Vision
Lee Kesselman is Professor and Director of Choral Music at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and a prolific composer with a distinguished catalogue of choral works as well as solo song and opera and many ASCAP awards. He grew up attending Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun, a classical Reform synagogue which was at the time in Milwaukee (and is now in its suburbs). He writes: “Emanu-El had male cantors, used an organ in worship and a paid quartet on Friday nights. The cantors were wonderful singers, one a tenor and then a baritone. No guitars, no tambourines, no Israeli folk melodies --- and the dialect was Ashkenaz.”

This song, Be Thou My Vision, was written on a commission from the Chicago Chamber Choir, a community group which was at the time directed by the legendary Doreen Rao and was doing an all-Irish program. Kesselman notes, “she specifically asked me for a version of Be Thou My Vision.  As it happens, it was a familiar tune to me—I have heard many arrangements and sung it in worship services.  Also, a different arrangement of it was on a … concert program in Ireland about a decade earlier. She wanted something atmospheric and with some aspect of 'collage' in my arrangement.”

Kesselman’s approach is much like Elliot Levine’s when working with a given text and any existing melodic material:
While I've set a number of texts which come from a variety of faith traditions, my first step with a hymn tune or any sacred text would be to read the text afresh, seeing if the words speak to me. I need to know that the overriding sentiment is something I believe, even if some of the specific terminology might not be mine. In this case, the text did speak to me. And the tune is hauntingly beautiful and memorable and seems so, so Irish. Strangely enough, the male-centric “King/Father” language bothered me the most, so I suggested alternatives.
I think I work similarly whether the piece is sacred or secular, instrumental or choral, Jewish or not.....start by trying to find the kernel or the DNA of the project. I immerse myself in that DNA—long enough and deeply enough to make the writing flow as naturally as it can in a self-consistent way. If I'm arranging, I'm using found materials, words, tunes, harmonies. If the piece (text or tune) is close to my own background, then I'm writing using materials that I've found at home, or close to home. And, for example, if the tune or text is something that I remember from childhood or synagogue or even before, I've already begun the immersion process. And while that may all sound very clinical, of course, the affective/emotional/inspirational/passion is always present. It's not part of the process, but it does drive the process, fuel the engine, light the path.
We can be grateful for such a thoughtful look inside the creative process.

Joshua Fishbein: Mi Shebeirach (A Prayer for Healing)
An accomplished composer, singer and pianist, Joshua Fishbein (b. 1984) writes both vocal and instrumental music. The winner of many awards and commissions, he most recently received the 2017 Dale Warland Commissioning Award from Chorus America, for a work that he will write for Chorus Austin.
About his musical background, the composer writes:
The Jewish choral music I was steeped in was very much homophonic. In block-chord harmonies, the choir backed up the cantor, who sang in a freely ornamented style with the traditional nusach (modes). My favorite mode was the Ahava Rabba mode, which is most closely associated with Jewish-sounding music because it is used in Hava Nagilah. I used that mode in my own Mussaf Kedushah, which I modeled after Dunajewski's.
As for this particular sacred work in Hebrew, Joshua Fishbein notes as follows:
I composed Mi Shebeirach earlier this year (2017) for Novi Cantori's New Edition's Composers Forum. The performance honored Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, MA, with original choral works celebrating the hospital's mission of healing. Novi Cantori's music director, Ellen Gilson Voth, chose Mi Shebeirach for me to set. However, the original words that she chose were those written by Debbie Friedman as part of her popular song. Because the lyrics to Friedman's song are copyright protected, I defaulted to the traditional words from the [new] Reform prayerbook (Mishkan T'filah). My great aunt, Rachel Glaser, is a retired Hebrew school principal. I often consult her about the Hebrew before composing a new Hebrew setting, as I did in this case. The words are both in Hebrew and Aramaic. For the section in Aramaic, I shifted into a different musical language, composing in the octatonic scale with more rhythmic drive. I also sought to infuse this part of the work with a flavor of exotic antiquity. For that reason, I chose to feature the double leading-tone cadence, harkening back musically to ancient times. I also feature the Lydian-Mixolydian (#4/b7) synthetic mode towards the end for "V'nomar Amen." The piece was recently performed a second time at Washington National Cathedral for a recital honoring Molly Young, a 30-year-old professional soprano, currently battling breast cancer.
Chicago a cappella is honored to be giving the Midwest premiere of this work.

Joshua Fishbein: A Prep-School Boy
How about a new piece of choral music on a text written by that icon of British choral music, Sir Benjamin Britten? We asked Joshua Fishbein to pair his Mi Shebeirach with something that felt decidedly non-Jewish-sounding, and this was his choice.
The composer writes:
A Prep-School Boy for unaccompanied SATB chorus sets the following text from the introductory note to Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, Op. 4 (1934) [text below]. I purposefully crafted a very literal musical interpretation of this text. For instance, the word “minor” is set in pulsating minor triads. Also, the initials “E. B.” are sung on the pitches E and B. Less serious than my other secular choral works, this composition shares similarities with music one might hear performed by a cappella groups on college campuses, such as humming and singing on neutral vowels like “Oh” and “Ah.” Elements of this piece also resemble 20th Century English choral music by William Walton and Ralph Vaughan Williams, in addition to Britten himself. Examples include abruptly distant harmonic changes, shocking cross-relations, and slow triplets that match the rhythm of the English language. Overall, I designed A Prep-School Boy to be very much in the spirit of the composer that it honors – E. B. Britten. However, with its lush harmonies and intricate counterpoint, this piece is still my own.

When we asked the composer for a little more history on the song, he told us, “I composed A Prep-School Boy in 2013 for the Cantate Chamber Singers's Young Composers Contest. Because it was Britten's centennial, Gisele Becker (Cantate's Music Director, and a Britten specialist) chose a quote by Britten that he inscribed on the back of the front cover to his Simple Symphony. I don't usually do these contests where you have to set a specific text to enter, but I did in this case because the text sounded fun to set, and I had a week of time to work on it. … It really isn't Jewish in any way, except that it was composed by a Jewish composer.”
In addition to being a younger composer’s sort of homage to a master from a previous generation, this piece is a showcase for Fishbein’s talent and a testament to what happens when finely honed skills meet a particular composing challenge.

Jonathan Miller: Let him kiss me (from Kisses of Myrrh)
Chicago a cappella’s artistic director, Jonathan Miller, wrote this choral motet in 2001 on a text from the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible. It is the opening movement of a five-movement work, with all texts drawn from the same book of scripture. The occasion was an unusual program by Chicago a cappella called “Let him kiss me: The intimate a cappella,” which remains the only time in the group’s history when a whole program was performed by a vocal quintet instead of 9 or 10 singers. (Trevor Mitchell still talks about that show as being one of his favorite CAC programs ever.)
The composer writes: “I remember being fired by the passion in the text. It is so simple but has so much promise – and the promise seemed to be something that I could express by overlapping lines of counterpoint. In graduate school I had studied a great deal of Renaissance counterpoint. When I got hold of this text, I wanted to try my hand at writing something that felt sort of like Palestrina or Josquin but would be in my own slightly more adventurous harmonic language. I was very pleased with the result, and it turned out being the first piece of mine that was ever published, thanks to Gunilla Luboff from Walton Music who took it on. Like Trevor, I still remember the excitement of singing the bass line myself in my own piece. Also, like Elliot Levine and Lee Kesselman, I wasn’t trying to write anything that sounded Jewish, even though it’s an Old Testament text… I was trying to do something that would honor the spirit of the 16th-century composers who have given me such inspiration.”

Jonathan Miller: Celtic Chassidic Kaddish
In this song, Hebrew liturgy meets Riverdance. Jonathan Miller has had the idea for this piece for many years. It arose when he was doing research on various Jewish communities around the world for the Chicago a cappella program called Melodic Migrations: Global Jewish Music. He learned that the Lord High Mayor of Dublin, Ireland, at one point had been Jewish. Jonathan’s rather strange mind started casting about: “Hmm, what would a Jewish-Irish piece of music sound like?”
The text comes from the same place in the liturgy as Salamone Rossi’s piece that opened this program: the Kaddish shaleym or “full Kaddish” that is used as a structural marker in the worship service, especially in the morning.

Max Janowski: Free at Last
In addition to his 53 years of service leading music on Friday nights and Saturday mornings at KAM Temple (now KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation) in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Max Janowski for decades spent Sunday mornings at All Souls Universalist Society in South Shore, a liberal congregation devoted explicitly to being a place where African-American and Caucasian people would worship together. Jonathan Miller himself spent many Sundays there while a freshman at the University of Chicago. Max would freely arrange virtually any melody that seemed like it would work in that Universalist worship setting—that included tunes by Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and the creators of the Negro Spiritual. Max was a fierce believer in civil rights (no huge surprise, given that he escaped Nazi Germany in 1933) and loved the spiritual. Free at Last is a celebration of that tune.

Max Janowski, arr. Jonathan Miller: Sim Shalom
Apart from Avinu Malkeynu, this is Janowski’s greatest hit. The prayer comes from the end of the Amidah or silent devotion that is the heart of the Jewish worship service; this paragraph is from the morning liturgy. The melody shares with Avinu Malkeynu the figure of a rising fourth in a minor key; unlike Avinu Malkeynu, this melody also winds around the flatted 7th scale degree (C natural in the key of D minor). This a cappella version of Sim Shalom was created by Jonathan Miller for CAC’s 2012 program Genius in the Synagogue: A Musical Portrait of Max Janowski, commemorating thte 100th anniversary of Janowski’s birth.