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Milken Archive - Traditional Cantorial And Concert Favorites / Simon Spiro

Release Date: 03/22/2005 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559460   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Israel GoldfarbTraditional
Conductor:  Neil Levin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Cantorial ChoirCoro HebraeicoSchola Hebraeica
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Cantor, composer, arranger, and consummate performer, Simon Spiro is world-renowned for his pure tenor voice, expressive musicianship, and charismatic personality. This all-new recording features Cantor Spiro in unique arrangements of beloved favorites such as Shalom aleikhem and Ya ribbon olam for the Sabbath, festive music for Hanukka, Passover, and the High Holy Days, the cantorial masterpiece Ba’avur david, and the virtuoso rendition of a Yiddish folktale, Avremele melamed. Another special feature: the traditional wedding benedictions, Sheva b’rakhot—some of the most beautiful Jewish wedding music. Let Cantor Spiro lead you through a musical celebration of Jewish life in all its richness and variety.

“...an attractive and
Read more well-chosen programme. Spiro’s voice is pleasant on the ear and it is easy to appreciate his virtuosity.” “The choral arrangements are all very well done... All the choirs on the disc are excellent... The disc comes with the usual superb liner notes; I can highly recommend this to anyone who would like to explore what might, for them, be an unknown area of repertoire.” — Robert Hugill, MusicWeb.uk.net (November 2005)

“The various selections are described as ‘concert favorites,’ and indeed they are, or were, and perhaps because of this CD will become so once again... These pieces emerge as fresh, engaging new works and may perhaps even become concert favorites again... As this CD demonstrates, Cantor Spiro is a real hazzan and has the voice and the ability to project all aspects of the cantor’s art... All the choirs sing with distinction, with intense and rounded tone, superb intonation and ensemble... Credit is gratefully given to Mr. Neil Levin, their conductor... I must single out the performance of ‘Ya Ribbon Olam,’ arranged by Roderick Williams, for special praise. Yes, indeed, Cantor Spiro is superb, but without these magnificent choirs his efforts would not have attained the musical or religious heights both forces together achieved... This is a worthy addition to one’s library of Jewish music. While the average cantor or choir may not sound like Cantor Spiro and the choirs here, wouldn’t it be nice if they did?” — Morton Gold, Jewish Post and Opinion (Indianapolis, Indiana) (May 11, 2005)

“...a keeper... Cantor Spiro is accompanied by a number of choirs including the Schola Hebraeica and the Coro Hebraeico, two of the finest Jewish professional choirs... A double pleasure to get a recording of first-rate cantorial and choral music together... The CD’s highlight is a new Spiro arrangement of ‘Ba’avur David,’ in which the vocal harmonies of the Coro Hebraeico are richly mined for tone color. Spiro’s arrangement of the ‘Sheva B’rachot’ is also noteworthy... A great opportunity to introduce hazzanut to those people who have little exposure to or never imagined they could appreciate this style of liturgical music.” — Jewish Herald-Voice (April 7, 2005)

“Cantor Simon Spiro is in fine voice, and is ably accompanied by the various choral institutions... Neil Levin, who has won an award for his encyclopedic Milken Archive program notes, here takes up the baton, and conducts with equal enthusiasm. This can be recommended for Holyday Calamities alone.” — Jerry Dubins, Fanfare (July/August 2005)

“...a delightful ‘Sheva B’rakhot,’ versions of Judaism’s seven wedding blessings... The jaunty 6/8 section in the middle would seem an ideal send-off for a happy couple, with a deftly crafted choral conclusion providing a measure of solemnity just before the fateful breaking of the glass... Cantor Spiro’s voice…is as pleasing to the soul as it is to the ear. The modal squiggles and shakes of the Ashkenazic style can sound strident when most cantorial tenors have at them, but they are smooth as silk here, thanks to the chazzan’s tasteful control. ‘Ba’avur David,’ a Hebraic obstacle course of runs, quivers and impassioned repetitions that fairly begs for vocal excess, actually comes off more as a meditation than as a vehicle for virtuosic expression. Mazel tov, bravo, and I’m still not sure how he pulled it off.” — Philip Greenfield, American Record Guide

“If you haven’t ventured into this extraordinarily fine project [the Milken Archive], I can’t think of a better place to begin than right here. You hear the glory of massed voices suitable for many occasions, and you hear the splendid tenor voice of Cantor Simon Spiro, acknowledged as a leading interpreter of cantorial art.” — King Durkee, Copley News Service

Click here to view all available releases in the Milken Archive Series at ArkivMusic.
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Works on This Recording

Shalom Aleichem by Israel Goldfarb
Conductor:  Neil Levin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Cantorial Choir,  Coro Hebraeico,  Schola Hebraeica
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Sheva B'rakhot by Traditional
Conductor:  Neil Levin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Cantorial Choir,  Coro Hebraeico,  Schola Hebraeica

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