A Meeting of Cultures


he Jewish communities of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, from the Seventeenth Century onward, saw various examples of musical performance based upon vocal and instrumental polyphony.

From Israel Adler's findings we now know that, from the Sixteenth Century onwards, several European Jewish communities in Italy, Provence and Amsterdam, were engaged in musical activities that went beyond the strict observance of synagogue songs. Such practices always relate to Jewish life within the community.

Holidays, circumcisions, anniversaries, important events, would be accompanied by performance of music. We see an example of this tendency in the music composed to the religious poem Hishki Hizki by Abraham Caceres, by way of celebration of the opening of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam.

We might say that the adoption of "non Jewish" musical styles is a clear sign of Jewish integration with the outside world. It might be said that all Jewish musical testimony from the Baroque period serves to evidence a change in the association of Jews and Gentiles, in the direction of a dialectic relationship which was destined to yield some of the most significant cultural events of the modern era in Europe.

The rediscovery of the Jewish-Baroque repertoire carried forward by the Jewish Music Research Center of the Hebrew University is an vital step towards broadening the role of music within Judaism itself to beyond the field of synagogue song, and towards casting new light upon the contribution of Jewish musicians to Western music in general.

The concert programs offered are based on music from such the Jewish Communities authors of the baroque period as Salomone Rossi, A. Caceres, L. Saladin, C. G. Lidarti; within the intention of proposing a meeting of cultures, some different authors are also included in the programs such as Corelli, Vivaldi, Kapsberger and others.

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