Remembrance and Renewal: Chamber Music by German Jewish Composers

On May 10, 2010, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary sponsored the concert Remembrance and Renewal: Chamber Music by German Jewish Composers, which featured a selection of previously unheard treasures from the JTS music archives. Attendees were also treated to works celebrating the 100th birthday of Herman Berlinski (z"l), whose collection is housed at The Library.

The chamber music of Remembrance and Renewal's featured composers reflected the complex and changing identities of German Jews, with their increasing orientation toward Western culture and the art music of the time, particularly German literature, culture, and nationalism. Indeed, most of these composers saw little difficulty in reconciling their visible public membership in the Jewish community with their role in the larger musical and cultural life of their respective home cities. Many of the featured composers are primarily known for their work in the realm of synagogue music; however, the careers of these cantors, organists, and choir directors were not bound solely to sacred music.

In a broader context, the selection of chamber music for the May 10 concert traces the history and development of Jewish music from the Age of Enlightenment to the emigration following Hitler's rise to power in 1933. The majority of the works performed were U.S. premieres.

Read the concert program notes.

Hear selected music from the Remembrance and Renewal concert.

Enjoy an interview with Sima Berlinski, widow of Herman Berlinski.