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There is a hidden secret about these great Rabbinical Masters. Many of them, besides been spiritual leaders, were also composers and musicians. One such Rabbi is the founder of the Chabad movement the renowned Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. Here is an example of one of his compositions:

Daled Bavos: The Alter Rebbe's Nigun The song has four stanzas, corresponding to the four spiritual worlds. One famous fact about him that he was a child prodigy, and he mastered the entire Talmud by the age of 6. 

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Given the dates- 1748 to 1812 - of the 'composer' - I was at first, quite intrigued.. given the harmonic language - as it seemed anachronistic .. and prescient .. so did some digging, and evidently this is an Arrangement by a contemporary  (current) composer - Israel Edelson.  I think, this being a composer's site, one should be a bit more cautious in this regard.

I thought it was well played, and soulful.. and pleasant enough as a composition, fwit.  (but the thing that caught my attention: 'anachronistic' and 'prescient' no longer apply, imo..  )

There are hundreds of arrangement of this music for different instruments, I chose the piano one, I didn't know who was the arranger, was concentrating more on the melody, the music, which is in essence unchanged. 

Thanks for the input regardless,

Here's the arranger performing:



gregorio X said:

Given the dates- 1748 to 1812 - of the 'composer' - I was at first, quite intrigued.. given the harmonic language - as it seemed anachronistic .. and prescient .. so did some digging, and evidently this is an Arrangement by a contemporary  (current) composer - Israel Edelson.  I think, this being a composer's site, one should be a bit more cautious in this regard.

I thought it was well played, and soulful.. and pleasant enough as a composition, fwit.  

"the melody, the music, which is in essence unchanged. "

Humm really?  I tried to find the original score to no avail..  I would expect the melody would be written, - but the curiosity to me Was the harmonic element.. and That is what I'd like to notice in the original score.. 

Have You seen the score?  If not, how would you know that the music's 'essence' is unchanged… or more importantly, unchanged harmonic content?






His Teacher was Rabbi Israel Ben Eliezer (1698-1760) otherwise known as the Baal Shem Tov (He with the Good Name) he was the founder of the Hasidic Movement and he too was also a composer and a musician. 

The Bal Shem Tov Nigun (Melody), there was a whole Jewish classical music that was totally neglected and virtually unknown outside Jewish community centers in Europe. These melodies shed light on how Orthodox Jews composed and played music in the time of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

While Bach made Christian music famous, Jewish religious music was almost unheard of, except for some works by Solomon Rossi from the Renaissance Period, these songs and melodies have not seen a wider audience, thanks to the internet and youtube these works are available for a wider audience 

This is the score that is posted on the site of the movement that he had founded, I'm sure that the Chabad movement had traditionally held and kept to the original score: Go to www.chabad.org and type in this in the search engine:

Melody of Four Stanzas

They have strict copyright laws so embedding or posting the actual score outside the site is forbidden, so you can view it on their site. 



gregorio X said:

"the melody, the music, which is in essence unchanged. "

Humm really?  I tried to find the original score to no avail..  I would expect the melody would be written, - but the curiosity to me Was the harmonic element.. and That is what I'd like to notice in the original score.. 

Have You seen the score?  If not, how would you know that the music's 'essence' is unchanged… or more importantly, unchanged harmonic content?

Thanks,… I see the score, and as suspected , it is only a melody.. which is fine.. so are gregorian chants (which are  less adventurous melodically.)  Thanks for your trouble. 

Yes you're welcome,

You need to remember that they were not composers in a professional sense, they didn't do that for a living, but they have used music for spiritual advancement.

Regards

gregorio X said:

Thanks,… I see the score, and as suspected , it is only a melody.. which is fine.. so are gregorian chants (which are  less adventurous melodically.)  Thanks for your trouble. 

Judging by this piece I would assume that such Jewish religious music has remained obscure because composers like Bach were considerably better! I wouldn't elevate the rabbi to prodigy status on the basis of this pleasant but unremarkable melody.

I never said that he was a prodigy in music. And as I explained before, Bach's profession was been a composer, and these Rabbi's were Spiritual leaders not composers per a job or a profession, and no one tried to compare the two.

Had any one of these Rabbi's had chosen a career in classical music composition I'm sure that they would have achieved universal recognition no less then Bach or any of the other greats, but this was not their objective at all.

Reading about these remarkable people would give you a perspective on their brilliance and very remarkable abilities.

Mastering the entire Talmud for example at age six is by far more difficult then anything imaginable that any human being can do or achieve. Youre talking about thousands of pages of the most difficult texts with exceedingly difficult analytic requirements to master them, and he did it by the age of six. Just imagine if he directed his unbelievable genius towards music, you would have had a totally different perspective and opinion.

Regards,



Charles Holt said:

Judging by this piece I would assume that such Jewish religious music has remained obscure because composers like Bach were considerably better! I wouldn't elevate the rabbi to prodigy status on the basis of this pleasant but unremarkable melody.

OK.. Saul, so this is more a religious than composition leaning post.. Martin Luther found himself at the head of a movement as well,, (after nailing some grievances  on a door).. and he composed as well…  So did Henry the VIII - (composer and beheader… )… That is fine… This is why I brought it up in the first place though, as this Is a composers' site, firstly.

Charles, you mention:

"I would assume that such Jewish religious music has remained obscure because composers like Bach were considerably better!"

not necessarily..

Remember that the Jewish community wasn't so well accepted in Europe for many centuries.. (to say the least)  and that for instance, although Mendelssohn's  grandfather was a great Jewish philosopher/scholar, Felix ended up converting to christianity to have his music more easily played/accepted...

This is absolutely about composition and music, not a single thing about religion has been spoken or explained.

Please listen to the music that was posted and if you have any comments please let us hear.

Regards

gregorio X said:

OK.. Saul, so this is more a religious than composition leaning post.. Martin Luther found himself at the head of a movement as well,, (after nailing some grievances  on a door).. and he composed as well…  So did Henry the VIII - (composer and beheader… )… That is fine… This is why I brought it up in the first place though, as this Is a composers' site, firstly.

Charles, you mention:

"I would assume that such Jewish religious music has remained obscure because composers like Bach were considerably better!"

not necessarily..

Remember that the Jewish community wasn't so well accepted in Europe for many centuries.. (to say the least)  and that for instance, although Mendelssohn's  grandfather was a great Jewish philosopher/scholar, Felix ended up converting to christianity to have his music more easily played/accepted...

You are trying to compare very different disciplines. Quite possibly the rabbi had an eidetic memory and whilst that would be useful in advancing ones skill in music it is nothing at all to do with compositional excellence or the lack thereof, and memorising the talmud would be a subjective thing to label "genius"!. There are humans alive today who can perform astounding feats of memory and recall but they would be unlikely to do well as composers.

You say this isn't about religion but I disagree. The fact that this composer was a rabbi is a factor that you are advancing as noteworthy for the music certainly is not. Were this melody composed by someone unimportant to you it would not have been presented here today. You mentioned using music for spiritual advancement which is another very subjective idea indeed. Since these spiritual leaders could by your reckoning have achieved greatness comparable to Bach and they were using music for spiritual advancement I have to wonder why they didn't get a lot better at it for the maximum spiritual advancement possible, for example many early advances in astronomy were made by Muslims through their own religious observance. Or middle english sacred choral music is generally regarded as the exemplar of the form.

Either the music is of note because it is particularly fine - on which my opinion is clear I think! - or because it was generated by a rabbi who himself was noteworthy for his feats of memory.

Saul Dzorelashvili said:

I never said that he was a prodigy in music. And as I explained before, Bach's profession was been a composer, and these Rabbi's were Spiritual leaders not composers per a job or a profession, and no one tried to compare the two.

Had any one of these Rabbi's had chosen a career in classical music composition I'm sure that they would have achieved universal recognition no less then Bach or any of the other greats, but this was not their objective at all.

Reading about these remarkable people would give you a perspective on their brilliance and very remarkable abilities.

Mastering the entire Talmud for example at age six is by far more difficult then anything imaginable that any human being can do or achieve. Youre talking about thousands of pages of the most difficult texts with exceedingly difficult analytic requirements to master them, and he did it by the age of six. Just imagine if he directed his unbelievable genius towards music, you would have had a totally different perspective and opinion.

Regards,

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