bOYbershop | Bendigamos

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by bOYbershop

Melodies from the Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions in traditional and close-harmony style.
Genre: Spiritual: Judaica
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Bendigamos
2:23 $0.99
2. Mipi Eil
5:45 $0.99
3. Ein Keloheinu / Non Ay Como Nuestro Dio
2:30 $0.99
4. Yoh Ribbone Olam
3:38 $0.99
5. Y'did Nefesh
4:22 $0.99
6. Mi Adir Al Hakol
2:01 $0.99
7. Hajjom T'amm'zenu
1:02 $0.99
8. Kol Nidre
4:39 $0.99
9. Uv'schofor Godol
2:38 $0.99
10. Adon Olam
2:57 $0.99
11. Socharti Loch
4:24 $0.99
12. Shuvi Nafshi
1:36 $0.99
13. V'yeetayu
3:52 $0.99
14. Ono Towo L'fonecho
1:41 $0.99
15. Psalm 150
2:32 $0.99
16. Shir Hama'alot
2:41 $0.99
17. Los Bilbilicos
2:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This CD presents a mixture of Ashkenazi and Sephardi liturgical music, some of which has been specially arranged for bOYbershop by its founder, Benjamin Wolf. Many of these pieces were first performed in June 2014 at a concert for the Montefiore Heritage Day in Ramsgate. The Ashkenazi works performed include music by Salomon Sulzer (1804 - 1890) and Louis Lewandowski (1821 - 94). Both musicians were important figures in the (Ashkenazi) Reform movements of the nineteenth century. Sulzer was cantor of the Seitenstettengasse Temple in Vienna (dedicated in 1826). The synagogue was in many ways traditional, except that there were weekly sermons delivered in German, and new music was composed (by Sulzer himself) for cantor and choir. Although some of this music was influenced by traditional Jewish chant, other pieces included compositions in German and music for the newly invented Jewish confirmation service. Sulzer’s compositions were published in a volume entitled Schir Zion, which included music by other composers including Franz Schubert, who composed a psalm setting in Hebrew. Lewandowski, meanwhile, was the musical director of the Oranienburgerstrasse synagogue in Berlin (which was dedicated in 1866). His music was composed for a choir of boys and men with organ accompaniment, and displayed the influence of Christian choral traditions, particularly as exemplified by Felix Mendelssohn. Lewandowski’s choral compositions were published in a multi-volume publication entitled Todah w'simrah (1876–82), and many of them are still sung (with or
without organ accompaniment) in both Orthodox and Reform synagogues throughout the world. Some of the music performed on this CD is exactly as composed by Sulzer and Lewandowski, as both composers wrote some unaccompanied music for male
voices only. In other cases it has been necessary to adapt the music for male voice quartet. In order to reflect the varied history of these melodies, we have chosen to sing some of them using the original Ashkenazi pronunciation employed by Sulzer and Lewandowski. In other cases we use Sephardi pronunciation to reflect the ongoing place of these pieces in a wide variety of Jewish contexts. The Sephardi component consists of arrangements of melodies from the Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewish traditions (including one Misrahi melody). Some of these melodies were collected and transcribed by ethnomusicologists
during the early twentieth century, in some cases coming from comunities which no longer exist (particularly the Jewish communities of Yemen). Others have been transcribed from recordings made by Sephardi congregations in more recent years. These melodies are either Shabbat songs, songs associated with particular festivals, or music used for grace after meals.

1) Bendigamos Sephardi melody arr. Benjamin Wolf
This famous melody is frequently used in Sephardi synagogues. In this case it is associated with a prayer that is sung as part of grace after meals. The text is in Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish). This is a light-hearted arrangement of the melody, influenced by 1950s doo-wop and Rock ’n ’Roll.

Let us bless the most high, the Lord who created us, let us give him thanks
for the good things he has given us.

2) Mipi Eil (from Misrahi, Yemenite and Sephardi versions) arr. Benjamin Wolf
A song used for both Simchat Torah and Shabbat, this is a popular text in several different Jewish traditions. This arrangement combines the most popular melody with two versions that were transcribed by Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. Idelsohn was a pioneering ethnomusicologist of the early twentieth century, responsible for collecting a great deal of Jewish music, as well as writing an influential history of the subject.

From the mouth of God let Israel be blessed. There is none powerful as God; there is none
blessed like the son of Amram, there is no greatness like the Torah and there are none who seek it like Israel.

3) Ein Keloheinu/Non Ay Como Nuestro Dio Sephardi melody, text in Hebrew/Ladino arr. Benjamin Wolf
This is an arrangement of a Sephardi melody that is used for this famous text, which is sung at morning services. In this case, the Sephardim combine the original Hebrew text with a Ladino translation.

There is none like our God; there is none like our ruler; there is none like our sovereign...

4) Joh Ribbone Olam Yemenite melody arr. Benjamin Wolf
This is a Sabbath song, in this case deriving from the Jewish community of Yemen. It was transcribed by Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. It is sung with a modern pronunciation, rather than the very distinctive pronunciation of the original Yemenite communities.

O Creator, Sovereign of this and all worlds, You are the ruler who rules over rulers. How pleasant
it is to declare Your powerful and wondrous deeds before You...

5) Y’did Nefesh
Sephardi melody arr. Raymond Goldstein
This is a beautiful arrangement of a Sephardi melody from Jerusalem (found in the Yitschak Levi collection). The text is a Shabbat (Sabbath) Song.

Lover of my soul, merciful God, bring your servant close to your will.
Your servant will run like a gazelle, to prostrate before your glory.
For Your companionship is purer than any fine taste or flavour.

6) Mi Adir Al Hakol Salomon Sulzer arr. Benjamin Wolf
One of Sulzer’s most popular compositions, this is commonly performed at weddings. There are various versions in existence, in particular the version that Sulzer published in Schir Tzion and the version published in the ‘Blue Book’ (a compendium of liturgical music published in the United Kingdom in the early twentieth century). The latter is more commonly performed at British weddings, and it contains musical and textual elements that were not contained in Sulzer’s original. This arrangement takes elements from both versions.

May he who is great above all…bless the bridegroom and the bride

7) Hajjom t’amm’zenu Salomon Sulzer arr. Benjamin Wolf
A text from the Rosh Hashanah (New Year) morning service, this piece announces both the joyous nature of the new year, and also the importance of repentance in the days to come.

This day, strengthen us: Amen. This day, bless us: Amen. This day, exalt us: Amen. This day,
seek us out for good: Amen. This day, hear our pleas: Amen. This day, accept our prayers in
mercy and favour: Amen...

8) Kol Nidre Salomon Sulzer arr. Benjamin Wolf
Solo: Eliot Alderman
Probably the most famous of Jewish melodies, this text gives its name to the evening service of the Day of Atonement. The original text is in many ways obscure, and its meaning is much disputed. Some German-speaking congregations of the nineteenth century wished to remove this text from their liturgy, but also wished to retain the traditional melody, and so both Lewandowski and Sulzer composed versions of the melody using different texts (including, in one case, a text in German). However, both composers also set the original text, as Jewish congregations in general proved reluctant to abandon this powerful element of their tradition.

All vows, obligations, forswearings, promises, bonds, forfeits and oaths we have vowed, sworn,
forsworn and obligated ourselves to You with good intent from this Yom Kippur to the next Yom
Kippur, may it come to us for good...

9) Uv’schofor godol Salomon Sulzer arr. Benjamin Wolf
Solo: Gabriel Gottlieb
In Lewandowski and Sulzer’s music, pieces written for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are often more elaborate or more dramatic than the music written for more regular use. There is often a sense of drama, of pleading, and of great seriousness.
This piece, from the Rosh Hashanah morning service, announces the blowing of the shofar and the arrival of the days of penitence. Some of Sulzer’s music for these occasions was composed for male-voice quartet and cantor, and
so very little rearrangement has been necessary.

The great Shofar is sounded and a still small voice is heard. Even angels are alarmed. Seized with fear, they proclaim: "Behold, the Day of Judgement.”

10) Adon Olam Salomon Sulzer arr. Benjamin Wolf
The text of Adon Olam is regularly used to conclude morning services in the Ashkenazi tradition. The text itself is believed to date from the eleventh century, and is a hymn to God’s power.

The eternal sovereign ruled alone before the creation of any form; at whose desire all was
brought into being, whose name henceforth was proclaimed as ruler...

11) Socharti Loch Louis Lewandowski
Solo: Eliot Alderman
A beautiful text from the Rosh Hashanah morning service, this is one of the few pieces that Lewandowski wrote entirely for cantor and male-voice quartet, to be sung a capella. It speaks of God’s remembrance of his people, on a day when we
ask for such remembrance, and it is one of Lewandowski’s most lyrical compositions.

I remember the devotion of your tender years, the love of your bridal days, when you followed
Me into the wilderness, into an untamed land.' As it is said: 'I will call to mind My covenant...

12) Shuvi Nafshi Louis Lewandowski arr. Benjamin Wolf
It is unclear why Lewandowski composed this piece, a beautiful and short text from psalm 116. In the text, the psalmist was apparently giving thanks for his recovery from illness and pain and return to health and peace of mind. It is one of a small number of pieces that Lewandowski wrote for male-voice singers, though the composition appears to have been written without Lewandowski’s usual care, and some alterations have been necessary in the arrangement. This piece is now commonly used for memorial purposes.

Be at rest, my soul for God has been generous to you…

13) V’yeetayu Louis Lewandowski arr. Raymond Goldstein
Solo: Benjamin Wolf

Another contrasting composition for solo and choral elements, this piece comes from the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) afternoon service. The text is quite triumphant, unlike many of the more penitent texts associated with this occasion.

All shall come to serve You and praise Your glorious name, declaring Your righteousness in farflung
lands; Peoples who knew You not shall seek You; to the ends of the earth...

14) Ono Towo L’fonecho (Tavo L’fanecha) Louis Lewandowski arr. Benjamin Wolf
One of Lewandowski’s finest compositions, this piece was originally composed primarily for male-voice quartet. The text recurs at various points during the day of Yom Kippur, and expresses the desire to humble ourselves before God as we repent of the sins that we have committed in the previous year. At the centre of the piece is a quartet for male voices, and so very little rearrangement has been necessary.

May our prayer come before You; do not ignore our plea. We are not so insolent nor obstinate as to say before you Everpresent our God and God of our ancestors, "We are just. We have not sinned." Indeed, we have sinned.

15) Psalm 150 (Halalujoh) Louis Lewandowski arr. Raymond Goldstein
One of Lewandowski’s most popular compositions, this is a setting of the most musical of the psalms, which enjoins us to sing God’s praises with song and with musical instruments. The composition betrays the influence of nineteenth-century music more generally, containing many grandiose and Romantic elements, as well as the hint of Italian opera.

Halleluyah! Praise God in his holiness; praise the One whose power fills the heavens. Praise the
One in the midst of the might of the One; praise the One whose greatness is abundant. Praise
him with the shofar, with the lute and the lyre…

16) Shir Hama’alot (from Psalm 126)
Rosenblatt arr.Raymond Goldstein
This is a well-known melody for a text that is sung before Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals) in the Ashkenazi tradition. It is a three-part arrangement containing delicate counterpoint.

When the Lord returned the captives of Zion, we were like people in a dream. Then was our
mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with exultation.

17) Los Bilbilicos Sephardi melody arr. Benjamin Wolf
Solo: Matthew Pochin
There are many melodies associated with the Jews of the Mediterranean, and particularly those expelled from Spain in 1492. Many of these melodies have texts in Ladino, a language which is close to Spanish. This melody has become extremely popular in recent years. It is a sad love song.

The nightingales sing with sighs of love. My soul and fortune are in your power. The rose flowers
in the month of May. My soul hides itself, suffering from love…

bOYbershop is a quartet comprising well-known, classically-trained musicians who regularly perform Jewish music. The quartet performs for both concerts and weddings. It has performed several times alongside the Zemel Choir. It has also performed for the Lord Mayor of London, the Leeds Jewish Festival, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, Ramsgate Montefiore Heritage and other Jewish cultural organisations. The quartet has an increasing profile outside the Jewish community, performing for the Chichester Festival (2015) and the Sacrées Journées de Strasbourg (2015). The quartet's repertoire is quirky and varied, including liturgical music, classic barbershop numbers, special arrangements of Jewish tunes and comic numbers composed by its founder, Benjamin Wolf. The quartet's original membership comprised Benjamin Wolf, Eliot Alderman, Marc Finer and Benjamin Seifert. Its current line-up comprises Benjamin Wolf, Eliot Alderman, Matthew Pochin and Gabriel Gottlieb, as well as regularly featuring tenor Will Petter. Benjamin Wolf is Musical Director of the Zemel Choir, Belsize Square Synagogue, the Wallace Ensemble and the Royal Free Music Society, while also working as Lecturer in Music at Regent's University London. He studied at Oxford University, Trinity College of Music, King’s College, London, and Royal Holloway, where he completed a PhD in 2010. He works as a conductor, pianist, composer and singer, and has written a number of works that are influenced by Jewish music, including a cello concerto (Etz Chayim , 2009), a piano concerto (L’Chaim, 2003/2015) and a number of pieces for choir and bOYbershop quartet. Eliot Alderman is Director of Music of the Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregation, the oldest Jewish congregation in the British Isles. He trained at the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, and regularly appears as both a Chazan and as an opera singer across the UK. Matthew Pochin is a former chorister and lay clerk of Hereford Cathedral, who now sings as an oratorio and recital soloist. He is a member of the professional choir of Belsize Square Synagogue and performs regularly with the City Glee Club, the Noblemen and Gentleman’s Catch Club and the Epiphoni Consort. Gabriel Gottlieb studied Music at Cambridge University and Singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. As well as singing frequently as an extra chorister with the Royal Opera and the BBC Singers, Gabriel appears regularly as soloist in opera, concert and opera. He is a member of Mosaic Voices, the choir of New West End Synagogue.



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