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Acclaim Him with songs of praise... Psalm 95


 

JEWISH SACRED CHORAL WORKS
in Classical Style

by MICHAEL REID WINIKOFF

Explore this catalog of beautiful, substantive Jewish choir works for Shabbat, High Holy Days, Chanukkah and the major festivals (Sh'losh Regalim).  Add a new musical dimension to your services.

THE VALUE OF CHORAL MUSIC IN THE SYNAGOGUE

 

 

The importance of congregational engagement and participation in the synagogue service has come to receive increased emphasis in our Jewish community in recent years.  These days, a vibrant worship experience, one that will draw more congregants to shul, is viewed to be the one with lively communal singing and dancing during as much of the service as possible. 
 
But an equally vital part of this engagement comes in the aspect of passive meditation – the opportunity for the congregant to sit quietly for a few moments at various points in the service, and allow the trappings of our ritual to affect us on their own terms, to transport us to another time and place, to a (hopefully) higher spiritual plane, where we are infused with moods and flavors of Yiddishkeit.  At their most powerful, these meditative moments can indeed be transcendental.

Music is perhaps the most potent agent for inducement and enhancement of that spiritual voyage.  A traditional melody, a passage of liturgy presented authentically by the hazzan, even a skillfully chanted haftarah, can be the aural equivalent of the minei v’samim, the varied spices, which add a subjective, sensory dimension to the proceedings and enhance the sublime poetic imagery of our sacred texts.
 
If simple melody has this capacity, it of course follows that the added harmonic dimension of 2- or 4-part choir settings will deepen the effect exponentially.  Well-crafted, well-executed choral music has this added expressive, inflective power; and certainly in a more traditional setting where the inclusion of musical instruments is often not permitted, such an added dimension of harmony is all the more to be prized - indeed, it is the one method available under sutch circumstances to add that harmonic dimension. 

My music is created expressly for the purpose of facilitating that voyage of spiritual contemplation, of revealing a new musical dimension all the more capable of expressing the heartfelt prayers and aspirations in our liturgy.  In this music I strive to honor the dignity, respectfulness and grandeur of our synagogue rite.

PRACTICAL, ADAPTABLE

 

 

If your congregation is like most, your choral resources are not limitless.  Many of your singers, for all their laudable dedication, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and be challenged, are not professionally trained.  Perhaps they don't read music.  These choral works are created to be useful and applicable to the services and rituals of the synagogue, while serving the considerations of a congregation's practical limitations.  About adaptabilities

Determine if a Work is Easy, Challenging or Inbetween - My music is designed for practicality, adaptability and achievability even by groups of more limited resources and skill levels, with works ranging from easy, tuneful, congregation-friendly settings in 2 and 4 parts, to complex, challenging renditions for SSAATTBB. See Ease/Challenge ratings.  If you're still not sure, you can ...

See and hear any work in score form via screen-capture playback video. Examine a piece to decide if it fits your choir.  PLEASE NOTE:  As of July 2016, all video playbacks on this site are in MP4 format.  About playbacks.

Purchase sheet music for any work in downloadable digital PDF files, ready to print in book or individual sheet format.  (DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ONLY - Sorry, no sale or shipment of hard-copies.)  Price per download includes license permission to produce up to 35 copies of the work

AUTHENTICALLY ROOTED IN TRADITION


 

Over the centuries, Jewish sacred music has evolved as a body of chant and chant modes (on both biblical and liturgical texts), known as nusach (plural nuschaot), informed and supplemented by colorful folk tunes and idioms, many which are indigenous to the non-Jewish culture of the various Old-World regions that long fostered the great European Jewish communities.  This melodic legacy is the very essence of Jewish sacred music.  It is a treasure trove of musical source material for the Jewish composer.  From these European traditions has sprung forth a richly expressive body of cantorial and choral works through the pens of great composers, and the voices and ingenious improvisational skills of great hazzanim (cantors) - producing many of the greatest artistic embodiments of that tradition.

The body of work offered on this site seeks to continue that artistic legacy of compositional transformation from chant and folk tunes into even more inspiring choral works.  It endeavors to be at once new and innovative, yet founded in that rich melodic heritage of our Jewish worship.

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Non-Choral Synagogue Works - See Jewish Wedding Music.