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The Programme

The Friday Night Service has some of the best musical settings for Shabbat. The music is rich and mellow, composers weaving beautifully crafted melodies to match the words. Most of the pieces here are currently sung in our synagogue, but there are some arrangements that are slightly different. Some accents have been shifted to correct the Hebrew pronunciation, and there are some new pieces, all modern compositions. Jewish Music is continuing to develop both here and abroad and shows that there is a desire to keep the services vital and refreshingly alive to more modern musical tastes. We are keeping the best of the old too!

FRIDAY NIGHT

bagel cover art Cover art from the CD

1.YEDID NEFESH - CHASIDIC / PURSA

Friday Night Services start with this most passionate of love songs. It describes how God's love for his people Israel is compared to honey which drips from the honey comb. The fusion of the musical setting of Yedid Nefesh creates an evocative atmosphere of the acceptance of the onset of Shabbat.

2. L'CHA DODI - CHASIDIC / SCHAPOSCHNIK / MOMBACH

The most frequently used melody has been recorded for this CD. It is the tradition in many of our synagogues for the chazan to change the melody at the half way point. This rendition has a further change and finishes with a lyrical Boi Vshalom, composed by Gershon Schaposchnik who served as chazan in Instabul in between the two World Wars. The concluding L'cha Dodi is a very old Mombach melody which was the staple diet in the United Synagogue until recent times.

3. TSADIK KATAMAR - LEWANDOWSKY

Lewandovskys' composition for this prayer is as majestic as the words, which talks about the tall Cedars of Lebanon. This very well known melody is known throughout the Ashkenazi world. Tsadik Katamar completes the first section of the Friday Night Service leading into Ma-ariv.

4. V'SHAMRU - TRADITIONAL

Taken straight from the Torah, (Exodus Chapter 31 Verses 16 & 17), this musical setting which precedes the Half Kaddish and the silent Amida sets a quiet reflective passage of serenity and tranquillity to accept the peace for the arrival of Shabbat. 'The children of Israel will keep the Sabbath as an everlasting covenant, because the Lord made the heavens and the earth in six days and he rested on the seventh'.

5. MAGEIN AVOT - REZUMNI

After the congregation has sung through Magein Avot, otherwise known as the Bir-chat M'ein Sheva, the Chazan then repeats the text in what is essentially a précis of the Amida.

The setting of the music composed by Rezumni is a dramatic, classical interpretation, which allows for an artistic rendition by the Chazan.

6. KIDDUSH - GERSHON SCHAPOSCHNIK / LEWANDOWSKY

Wine has its own special place in Judaism. Every Shabbat and Festival is sanctified by it and after making the appropriate Bracha, the wine is drunk therefore becoming part of the person, and in that sense, sanctifies the person. In the centre section of the Kiddush, the music of Lewandovsky has been included, and his melodic line for Ki Va-nu V'char-ta is internationally known for the congregation to join in.

SHABBAT MORNING

7. YISMACH MOSHE - CHASIDIC

A bright rendition of the fourth Bracha of the Amida. Moses rejoiced in the honour afforded him as the man who would receive the Torah on Har Sinai. Wouldn't you be happy at such a great honour?

8. V'AL KULAM - MEIR FINKLESTEIN

Meir Finklestein is at the forefront of modern Jewish composition. His musical talent of bringing out the meaning of the words is extraordinary. There are two of his pieces in this album, which are part of his Shabbat Service written for Chazan and Choir.

TORAH SERVICE

9. ROFEI ELYON - PAUL ZIM

Ro-fei el-yon, sh-lach r-fua sh-lei-ma l-chol cho-lei a-me-cha, B-toch yosh-vei tei-veil v-al kol yis-rael v-no-mar, amen.

Great source of strength, send healing and spiritual well-being to all who suffer pain. Bless all who are ill. Now let us respond: Amen.

Cantor Saul Zim was delighted to learn that I had heard this special prayer and that it was to be recorded and included in this CD.

Rofei Elyon is a prayer for those who are unwell, and is sung prior to the Torah being taken back to the Ark.

10. EITS CHAYIM HI - PORTNOY

This very well known melody is a favourite in Woodside Park. It's a very pretty tune and every one sings!

11. HU ELOKEINU - STEPHEN GLASS

This haunting melody was written for me around 1986 by Stephen Glass, for a Wigmore Hall Concert. This sweet lyrical rendition is new to Woodside Park and is sure to become a favourite!

12. L'DOR VADOR - MEIR FINKLESTEIN

From generation to generation we will declare Your greatness. L'dor Vdor and the earlier piece V'al Kulam show a strong musical connection to each other. Both pieces were written for choir and chazan but work very well for congregational singing.

13. KAD'SHEINU - GROSS

This bright rendition of kadsheinu reflects the joy and happiness of Shabbat, v'sam'chei-nu bi-shu-a-te-cha and make us rejoice in your salvation.

14. SIM SHALOM - taken from A.Z. IDLESOHN

Based on traditional motifs for Shabbat, this melody allows for congregational singing and rounds off the Mussaf service.

15. EIN KEILOHEINU - ZVI TALMAN

A haunting melody for a much loved poem towards the end of the Shabbat morning service. Sung as a duet, Nic Gilbert's singing completes this lovely setting.

16. ADON OLAM - STEPHEN GLASS

There have been many musical settings for Adon Olam. Stephen Glass wrote this one initially for his childrens' choir in Montreal, and was performed in Woodside Park at the 'Three Cantors and a Choir' concert

Foreword

The distribution of a CD with a magazine is not a new idea, but is most unusual when associated with a shul magazine.

The concept was to make a recording of the melodies that have been sung in our community over the last 2 years as well as introducing some new ones. There are 16 tracks on the CD.

I am pleased to also include the younger generation. Nicholas Gilbert has sung many times with me in Woodside Park. He has shown considerable talent and an interest in the continuity of our rich Jewish Music heritage. He joins me, singing on the last 2 tracks. Nic has been involved in my concerts in London, Belfast and Dublin to great acclaim, and has recently been approached to sing with the Shabbaton Choir for the Midnight Slichot Service.

My main concern has always been accurate interpretation and understanding of the Hebrew text combined with beautiful music, and putting the accents and stresses in the right places.

I would like to mention Stephen Glass without whom this CD would not have been possible. Stephen has a very special talent for achieving musical excellence through his remarkable piano accompaniment, applying a deep understanding of the texts, accents, and interpretation.

The first track, Yedid Nefesh will initially sound a little odd to our regular Friday Night congregants, but the accent shifting ensures correct Hebrew reading!

I would like to take this opportunity of saying thank you to the many people who have supported me in this hugely time consuming venture. Firstly to my wife Ros, for putting up with me being permanently attached to my computer. My son Rich for his design ideas, and a special mention to Sharon Murad and our Honorary officers, who encouraged me to make this CD.

I thank them for offering their valuable advice and support in getting it finished and out with the magazine.

Most of all, I would like to express my grateful thanks to all those who through their generous donations to the synagogue made this CD possible.

Cantor Stephen Robins

ARCM Dip JC

From Hershel Rader - Rav, Woodside Park Synagogue

The power of music to enhance our prayers is an integral part of Jewish tradition; melody can open the heart and heighten the senses, inducing a true sense of kavanna - devotion.

Chazan Stephen Robins initiative to record some of the tunes he uses in the Shabbat services offers an opportunity to the wider community to familiarise themselves with his unique blend of traditional and modern liturgical music.

I am sure that this album will be an enjoyable listening experience for all our members and hopefully inspire them to even more regular Synagogue attendance.

Recorded in Montreal and Wembley Middlesex.
Thanks to:-
Toby Wood at Phoenix Sound, Wembley
Fred Ganon at Tempo Studio, Montreal
Bradley Rubenstein, Redbridge.
Sharon Murad for help and advice.
My son Rich, for designing the front cover
Stephen Glass in Montreal for his unfailing support and guidance in the making of this CD.