Page 40 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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J EWI SH MUS I C L I T E RA T U R E
B
y
I
rene
H
e sk e s
F
o r s e v e r a l r e a s o n s
there is a burgeoning of American
Jewish cultural creativity: the tragic holocaust in Europe
which shifted Diaspora leadership to America, the inspiration
provided by the State of Israel and the contemporary search
for an affirmative Jewish identity in this country. In this move-
ment Jewish music has become a particularly felicitous vehicle
for Jewish self-expression. The past two decades have been
extremely fruitful for all types of Jewish musical activities here.
One direct result of this increasing activity has been the
proliferation of publications concerned with the many and
varied aspects of our Jewish musical heritage. All have been
worthwhile contributions; many are extremely useful study
resources, while some should prove of lasting significance not
only for Jews but also for the cultural history of western
civilization.
This literature comprises several broad categories: essays in
Jewish and non-Jewish academic or general periodicals and books;
music scores and collection materials; historical surveys and
analytical volumes; educational resources and textbooks, and
biographies of Jewish musicians. A notable new achievement
has been the appearance of textbooks for the organized technical
study of Jewish music. Also welcome are those books and
articles which explore the origins and developments of Jewish
music in terms of world musical history.
Another consequence of this renaissance of Jewish music in
America has been the formation in recent years of special schools
of cantorial study for each of the three Jewish religious branches.
Now effectively educating a new generation of musical leader-
ship, each of these schools is also engaged in compiling and
publishing appropriate cantorial and educational materials.
Among these works are new musical compositions and arrange-
ments, as well as excellent reprint editions of fine European
liturgical collections and cantorial manuscripts which would
otherwise have been lost, or at least might never have been
available to the American public.
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