Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cantorial records

Cantor Jossele Rosenblatt
12" x 8", oil on wood, 2011
People don't seem to care too much about collecting records down here, I don't have competition. My collection has been really taking off since I got here .  Take cantorial records for example; I had never even seen one up north but down here I find four, by three different cantors, in a two week period, in three different thrift stores. I had always thought of cantorial music as esoteric, that you would only hear in temples, not on vinyl records produced for a mass audience. But I learn that there was a golden age of cantorial music, that the music was played in concert halls for general audiences, and that cantor Jossele Rosenblatt was considered one of the best tenors of his time throughout the world. The title of the Rosenblatt LP I bought says all: Cantor Jossele Rosenblatt Sings His Most Famous Cantorial Compositions, Volume 8. The record is from 1969, Rosenblatt died in 1933, so his fame lasted well beyond his own time.
Reading up on my subject, on the back of the record sleeves, from Wikipedia, as well as from other sources, I got a history lesson beyond the cantorial realm as well. I learned what the restrictions of the sabbath are and when they are observed. I learned about the atrocities against the Jewish people in World War I. My eclectic (I don't really like that word but I can't think of an alternative—it presumes a hierarchical idea of taste) record collection sure makes me a better informed citizen. I needed to read up on the Sabbath topic because of a request on one of the records: "Please do not play this record on the Sabbath".

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