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FALL 2017 
Dear Friends of Zamir, 
Shana Tova! A happy, healthy, and sweet new year to you and your family. As you take time to celebrate the High Holidays and usher in 5778, be sure to catch up on the latest Zamir news and mark your calendars to join us at a host of upcoming local concerts. In this issue, Josh Jacobson muses on the revival of "majestic" synagogue music and offers a season preview. We welcome new members and say goodbye to our dear friend, Phil Goldman z'l. We hope to see you soon!
In each issue of E-Notes, Artistic Director Joshua Jacobson offers his unique insights and experiences as a world-renowned scholar, composer, conductor, and influential teacher of Jewish music.
Josh Jacobson
Photo by Richard McNight
What makes music great? What makes music sacred? What makes music popular? This fall, Zamir will be investigating these issues through performances of some of the greatest and most popular synagogue music of the 19th century, music that is still being sung after more than a century and a half. 

Some contemporary American synagogues have rejected the notion of "majesty" in their musical offerings in favor of a more casual guitar-led sing-along. It is rare these days to hear the liturgy interpreted artistically by a cantor and/or a choir. Zamir opens a nostalgia-tinted window to re-introduce our audiences to music of a different liturgical culture, music of a distant time and place, music that has not lost its power to inspire and delight.

Zamir opens a nostalgia-tinted window to re-introduce our audiences to music of a different liturgical culture, music of a distant time and place... 
What is a masterwork? What is a classic? A work of art is great if it has sufficient quality that it endures. Repeated listening (or reading or viewing) doesn't tire us or bore us. We want to go back to this play, painting, symphony again and again because each time we discover something new. It never ceases to inspire us. 

What makes music sacred? Is it merely the fact that it is used in a liturgical service? What of the many secular (or secular-style) melodies that we now use to sing our sacred texts? Or are there musical styles that occupy a place apart from the mundane? Are there musics that, even without lyrics, seem to transport us to a metaphysical zone of meditation?

And what makes music popular? Is it determined simply by statistics--what percentage of the population "likes" a particular song? Of course, commercial media exert a huge influence on that question. Or is there something that makes a song inherently and immediately attractive, the musical equivalent of sugar and salt?

On November 6 (see ad below),
Louis Lewandowski
we will continue our revival of majestic 19th-century synagogue music with music that is (or was) popular, sacred, and/or masterfully great. Our program includes music by Louis Lewandowski, written for his choir to perform at the Friday evening service in Berlin--music that became so popular that worshippers on both sides of the Atlantic appropriated the melodies for their own congregational singing. We will present the origins of the tunes for "Adon Olam" and "Eyn Keloheynu," which are still popular today. We'll also perform compositions that were beloved in their time in the synagogues of Vienna, London, Paris, and Odessa--magnificent and sensitive settings of the Hebrew liturgical texts. Is there still room for this music in contemporary American synagogues? Or shall we enjoy it only in sacred concerts? Come and experience these majestic masterworks in all their splendor--and you decide.
Sunday, October 29, 2017, 4:00 pm, Temple Ohabei Shalom, 1187 Beacon St, Brookline: Zamir is delighted to join the congregation of Temple Ohabei Shalom as part of their 175th anniversary festivities, "From Jamaica to Judaica," during the last weekend in October. The program will include works from the liturgical, modern, Israeli, and jazz repertoire and feature composers such as Salamone Rossi and Naomi Shemer. Jeremiah Klarman and Robert Snyder will be on hand to accompany their recently commissioned compositions. Also featured will be Jacobson's setting of the Havdalah, which was premiered at the Temple in 1970 in Zamir's first-ever public performance. The Temple's executive director, Naomi Gurt Lind, a Zamir soprano, will perform several solos. Tickets: https://www.ohabei.org/ 

Monday, November 6, 7:30 pm, Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Rd, Wellesley: "Masterworks of Majesty." See "Musings," above for program details and below for registration information. Free admission.  The Divine Majesty Series is made possible by an anonymous underwriter in memory of Mary Wolfman Epstein and Cantor Barney Mould. 
Sunday, December 3, 4:00 pm, Temple Isaiah, 55 Lincoln St, Lexington: Zamir is looking forward to returning to Temple Isaiah to perform a concert of our wide-ranging repertoire, featuring the vocal talents of Cantor Lisa Doob. The program will end with a set of songs for the upcoming Hanukkah holiday. Tickets: http://www.templeisaiah.net/ 

Sunday, December 10, 4:00 pm: "A Light Through the Ages," Hanukkah concert at Central Reform Temple, 15 Newbury St, Boston. Zamir returns for this special annual celebration of Hanukkah. The Chorale will perform in the cantata "A Light Through the Ages," text by Rabbi Howard A. Berman, which weaves a chronicle of the celebration of the holiday in many times and places over the centuries. Free and open to the public. For details and tickets, click  here.   
Sunday, December 24, 7:30 pm, Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St, Newton: "Hanukkah Happens." After a year's hiatus, Zamir returns to Emanuel for its traditional holiday concert, this year a collaboration between Zamir and the well-known Jewish-rock band Safam: Dan Funk, Joel Sussman, Robbie Solomon, and Alan Nelson. The band originally emerged from Zamir and gave its first performance as part of a Zamir concert in December 1974. The program will also feature Cantor Elias Rosemberg and Rav-Hazzan Aliza Berger. Tickets: Temple Emanuel 

Save the Dates! Wednesday, May 23, and Thursday, May 24, 2018, 7:30 pm: "Zamir Goes Baroque," at Slosberg Recital Hall, Brandeis University, South St, Waltham.
Zamir and friends will explore rarely heard Jewish polyphony from the 17th and early 18th centuries: synagogue motets (and a few dances and love songs) by Salamone Rossi Hebreo of Mantua;
Cantata ebraica by Carlo Grossi of Venice; Louis Saladin's
Canticum Hebraicum, written for the Proven├žal Jewish community; excerpts from Giuseppe Lidarti's oratorio  Ester, composed in Hebrew for the Jewish community in Amsterdam; and more. This music is not only fascinating historically, it is beautiful and delightful! Zamir will be joined by choreographer Ken Pierce and an awesome instrumental ensemble, led by renowned violinist Daniel Stepner.
The Zamir Chorale of Boston presents
Masterworks of Majesty 
part of the Divine Majesty Series*
Mon., November 6, 2017, 7:30 pm
 Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Joshua R. Jacobson, Artistic Director

What makes music great? What makes music sacred? What makes music popular? We will be investigating these issues through performance of some of the greatest and most popular synagogue music of the 19th century, music that is still being sung after more than 150 years.

Free admission; Registration required.

*The Divine Majesty Series is made possible by an anonymous underwriter in memory of Mary Wolfman Epstein and 
Cantor Barney Mould.
As always, let us know what you're up to--we love hearing from our friends near and far. Have a peaceful, healthy, and happy new year!   
Barbara Gaffin           Deborah Sosin        
Managing Director       Editor, E-Notes