The choir archive, which spans almost six decades, is now accessible to everyone – and may be expanded continuously
The musiconn.peformance database is now richer by more than 760 entries, as the Leipziger Synagogalchor is now also represented there with its extensive archive. The portal of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB), activated as part of the Specialised Information Service for Musicology, enables convenient research into musical performances – from the beginnings of concert activity to the present day. It networks the research data of various partners. The institutions that have previously opened their archives for the portal include a. o. the Dresden State Opera, the Frankfurt Museum Society, the Albert Lortzing Society, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Dresden Kreuzchor and the Leipzig St. Thomas Choir – and since November also the Leipziger Synagogalchor.
The Leipzig ensemble took advantage of the forced break caused by the corona pandemic and evaluated all available materials in the choir archive for musiconn.performance. These include programs, posters, announcements, advertisements, invitations and reviews from 1963 to 2020. The data recorded – locations, occasions, musicians, organizers, work titles, composers – illustrate the broad spectrum of the Jewish repertoire and its performances in numerous concerts in Germany and abroad, at memorial and festive events, in services and other event formats. The project offers a broad research basis for the presentation of the cultivation of Jewish music in the GDR and in Germany after 1990.
The database is not only accessible to scientists. Everyone can and is allowed to inform, browse and research: How often was Louis Lewandowski’s “Ma tovu” performed? Which compositions by Samuel Lampel were performed? Which soloists and orchestras made music with the choir? When and where did the ensemble perform in Poland or Israel? What part does the choir have in the remembrance culture in East and West? All answers can now be found at https://performance.slub-dresden.de.
But not everything has been recorded completely, so the choir asks the audience, organizers, archives and former singers for help: Anyone who has material from the history of the choir is welcome to contact us and help to further expand the digital archive.
March 13, 2020. We are very pleased that, on our initiative, the “Revitalization of Synagogue Choral Music of the 19th and 20th Centuries of Central and Eastern Europe” has been included in the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage – as a good saveguarding praxis example for the preservation of the cultural heritage! Since its foundation in 1962, the Leipziger Synagogalchor has devoted itself exclusively to Jewish music. The main concerns of the choir are the synagogue chants that emerged in the liberal synagogues (equipped with organs). The inclusion in the Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage has long been a concern for which we have won numerous other ensembles and institutions (Synagogal Ensemble Berlin, Shalom Chor Berlin, Synagogalchor Hanover, Synagogue Choir Dresden, Abraham Geiger College Potsdam, University of Music Weimar / Chair for the History of Jewish Music, Villa Seligmann Hanover, Louis Lewandowski Festival Berlin) for a joint application to the German UNESCO Commission under our leadership. The letter from the commission states: “The committee of experts recognizes that this musical tradition is based on European-Christian music, but at the same time has preserved its Jewish roots. With the seizure of power by the National Socialists in the 1930s and the subsequent destruction of the synagogues and persecution of the Jews, the synagogue choral music also disappeared. It is particularly positive to note that the music tradition is being revived today by some choirs who study and develop the repertoire of the composers of synagogue choral music – also in exchange with each other – and perform them in concerts and festivals.“
Now it’s online – our video of the final concert of the Jewish Week of June 30, 2019. How moving to relive the moment when 800 people in Leipzig’s main railway station listened to Ernest Bloch’s choral-symphonic Sabbath morning service “Avodath Hakodesh”. Look here
At the Kurt Weill Festival in March 2019, our new project with the Kammerchor Josquin des Préz premiered: “Cantate l’Adonai – Psalms from Synagogues and Churches”. In the next months we will present the program (sponsored by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony) in some Saxon cities. The patronage of the concert series, which sets a musical sign for tolerance and peaceful coexistence, has been taken over by the Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. Dates: May 4th Bautzen, St. Petri, May 5th Waldenburg, St. Bartholomäus, October 5th Zwickau, Friedenskirche, October 6th Döbeln, St. Nicolai
The Leipziger Synagogalchor e. V. has been a member of the Tolerant Saxony network since October 2018! The network is a platform of about 100 Saxon initiatives, associations and organizations committed to the promotion of democratic culture and the fight against anti-Semitism and racism.
At the moment we are working together with the Kammerchor Josquin des Préz on a new CD – “Klingende Toleranz”. We are recording the historic concert program from the Leipzig Synagogue from 1926, which we re-performed with great success in 2015 in Leipzig and 2018 at the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau.
With: Tilmann Löser (organ), St. Thomas’ organist Ullrich Böhme (organ), Henrik Hochschild (violin), Anja Pöche (soprano), Susanne Langner (mezzo-soprano) and cantor Assaf Levitin (bass baritone).
There are works by Jewish and Christian composers: Louis Lewandowski, Samuel Lampel, Salomon Rossi, Salomon Jadassohn, Johann Sebastian Bach, Arcangelo Corelli, Georg Friedrich Handel, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Arnold Mendelssohn.
The CD will be published in January 2019 at the label querstand. Sound engineer: Tobias Hoff, conductor: Ludwig Böhme. We thank Dr. Arend Oetker for the kind financial support of our CD production.
The Leipziger Synagogalchor (Leipzig Synagogue Choir), a German ensemble that performs exclusively Jewish choral music, was established in 1962 by Cantor Werner Sander. Following Sander’s death, the ensemble’s direction was taken over by Helmut Klotz in 1972. Since 2012, Ludwig Böhme has served as the choir’s musical director. The recipient of several awards, the choir records and performs widely, promoting international- and interreligious dialogue. Much of the choir’s repertoire consists of the 19th century liturgical music that was sung in German synagogues – for choir and soloists, either a-cappella or with keyboard accompaniment – and pronounced in the particular Ashkenazi manner used by German Jewry up to the Holocaust. Today, some arrangements of Yiddish songs also make up the repertoire. What is totally unique about this ensemble is that conductor and members, none of whom belong to the Jewish faith, are keeping this important tradition alive and presenting it to audiences in Europe and further afield. This writer attended the concert held at the Moreshet Yisrael Synagogue, Jerusalem, on November 13th 2017, where the Leipzig choir was hosted by the Jerusalem Meitar Choir (director: Ido Marco). Soloists from Germany were Dorothea Wagner (soprano), Falk Hoffmann (tenor), Tilmann Löser (piano) and Reinhard Riedel (violin). Both choirs joined to open the event with Louis Lewandowski’s setting of “Ma Tovu” (How Great are thy tents), with the Leipzig Synagogalchor (and soloists) performing more of the much-loved Lewandowski songs; their sensitive singing of the soul-searching “Enosh” text from the Day of Atonement memorial service was especially expressive and moving: “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” (Psalm 103). Continue reading →
We go on our third concert tour to Israel from 10th to 19th of November 2017. We would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters who make the tour possible. We would like to thank our friends and partners in Israel who are preparing the concerts with so much commitment. All dates: