Golden Chants in America...Commemorating 350 Years of Jewish Music
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Golden Chants In America...Commemorating 350 Years Of Jewish Music
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From the Artist
Tribute to all Immigrants
Cantor Garfein says her album "pays tribute to all immigrants arriving in America looking for that golden chance of opportunity and freedom." She points out the album's cover photo, taken from the southern edge of Ellis Island, represents the "new immigrant" looking south toward the Statue of Liberty "in anticipation of a new life." Symbolically, Cantor Garfein says, the album begins with "The Colossus," by Max Helfman, which sets to music the words of poet Emma Lazarus, a Sephardic Jew: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free...." The text of the full poem, written by Lazarus in 1883, is enshrined in bronze at the pedestal of the Statue Liberty.
About the Artist
Cantor Rebecca Garfein, mezzo-soprano, is the Senior Cantor of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City, and is the first female Cantor ever to hold this position. Cantor Garfein has appeared in numerous recitals throughout the United States, Israel, and Europe.
In 1997, Cantor Garfein was invited to participate in the Jewish Cultural Festival in Berlin, Germany and was the first female Cantor to give a solo concert in the same city her grandfather of blessed memory fled. At the 1998 Berlin Jewish Cultural Festival, she became the first female Cantor to preside in a German synagogue, and released a CD of the live recording of the 1997 Berlin concert, "Sacred Chants of the Contemporary Synagogue." On November 10, 2005 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, Cantor Garfein presented the concert and historic CD debut of "Golden Chants in America...Commemorating 350 years of Jewish Music, 1654-2004," Including music from the Spanish-Portuguese Jews, the synagogue and the Yiddish and Broadway theater, the CD is the first U.S. recording to feature Jewish music spanning 350 years of life in America.
Cantor Garfein is also a featured soloist on two recordings from the Sacred Music Press, Celebrating the Past and Present, honoring the 50th anniversary of the School of Sacred Music, 1999, and Kol Sasson Kol Simcha, a commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2001.
A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Cantor Garfein has been a featured soloist with the Ra'a'na'na Orchestra and the Zamir Chorale at the Jerusalem Theater in Israel and in 2001 was a soloist at the 350th anniversary concert of the Curacao Jewish Community.
Cantor Garfein made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2005 with Mandy Patinkin in a benefit concert for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater. In 2003, Cantor Garfein made her debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in a concert celebrating the release of Dr. Ruth Westheimer's book, "Musically Speaking." She has been a participant in the opera program at DiCapo Opera in New York City and at the Aspen Music Festival. As a teenager, Cantor Garfein was a participant in the Young Artists' vocal program at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts.
Cantor Garfein graduated cum laude from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music with a degree in vocal performance and opera. In 1993, she received her Master's Degree in Sacred Music and Cantorial Investiture from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).
Top customer reviews
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The CD celebrates the diversity of American Jewish music, but no CD can present all the various strands, only the personal favorites of the artist. This cantor's taste includes, naturally, liturgical music, ranging from classical Reform chorale to modern, meditative prayers, compositions by contemporary cantors, and some beautiful Yiddish and Ladino synagogue music. She includes also popular songs from Kern, Secunda, and Berlin. Altogether, a real treat and a great Chanukah gift.
Cantor Garfein brings to each melody a vocal range coupled with rare interpretive sensitivity. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful as she sings ancient Hebrew prayers and meditations, filled with fun and joy in the Yiddish melodies, vigorous and full of pride when she belts out an amazing "God Bless America." Bravo, and thank you for the gift of this music!
The CD is a must for any Jewish music collection.
Rabbi Stephen D. Franklin