Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Yizkor--Memorial Music on YouTube

David Chevan, with Cantor Martin Levson and the Afro-Semetic Experience, debuted "Yizkor: Music of Memory and Mourning, a memorial concert for cantor and jazz ensemble" at Southern Connecticut State University on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. In an email to Ari Davidow's Jewish Music mailing list Chevan explains his musical goals for the piece:

"The lyrics for the pieces all come from the Yizkor service (the Jewish memorial service) and the music that I composed is a mixture of jazz-inflected melodies and rhythms and chazzanut-the often highly melismatic and distinctive traditional singing style used by cantors-a style that dominated their singing more in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. One of my compositional goals was to reinvigorate this now less commonly used singing style by putting it into a new context. The other was to create a modern Jewish memorial work."
The concert was videotaped and Chevan has graciously uploaded a couple of the videos to YouTube.

Psalm 23

Yizkor for Martyrs
I'm a fan of attempts to place cantorial vocals in other contexts. I've mentioned in the past how much I love Uri Caine and Aaron Bensoussan's "Zohar: Keter" and Jeremiah Lockwood's Sway Machinery. These videos hit me in the same spot. I'm not sure when a recording of this material is due, but I'll keep my eyes open.

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