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Various - Producer: Francesco Spanolo
Italian Jewish Musical Traditions From The Leo Levi Collection

Order #: 01168
This Cd is packaged in a delux box set and includes a 50 page booklet.The Jews of Italy and Their MusicExcerpted from the booklet by Francesco SpagnoloThe recordings collected by Italian-Israeli ethnomusicologist Leo Levi throughout the 1950's constitute a unique testimony to the wealth of Italian Jewish musical traditions. The first and only extensive aural documentation of a fascinating cross-cultural world, these melodies take the listener on a musical journey across Jewish Italy, painting the portrait of a lost world. A large portion of this orally transmitted heritage was lost over the first half of the 20th century, and can only be heard in recordings.Never before the creation of the State of Israel, did Jews of so many varied origins live together, and in such a stimulating (even if at times threatening) environment as they did in the land they called in Hebrew I-Tal-Yah, "Island of Divine Dew". A crossroad in world culture, Italy has been in over two thousand years a haven for several layers of immigration from the four corners of the Diaspora. This has allowed the persistence and co-existence of peculiar Italian, Sephardi (or Spagnoli) and Ashkenazi (or Tedeschi) identities, rituals and traditions. Thus, Jewish Italy is both asa time capsule, where ancient Jewish cultural traits have been preserved, as well as a "laboratory of Modernity", where such traits were adapted to constantly changing conditions. Italian Jews successfully mediated their way amongst tradition, diversity, religious conflicts, emancipation, cosmopolitanism and multi-culturalism, all at the very heart of Christianity.Italy's own peculiar history is indeed reflected in its Jewish melodies. Each community developed a style of synagogue song according to its origins. Somegroups retained the ancient Italian minhag (ritual), which differs from the Sephardi and the Ashkenazi ones especially in the cantillation of the Torah (Hebrew Pentateuch) and in the pronunciation of Hebrew. At the same time, Jews who immigrated to Italy over time kept their original (Sephardi, Ashkenazi) rituals, but adapted them to the Jewish and non-Jewish Italian musical environment and often adopted the local pronunciation of Hebrew. In all communities, the impact of Italian art and popular music has been tremendous: folk tunes, as well as Italy's most celebrated music, Opera and bel canto vocal style, have been incorporated into the liturgy.Some Jewish melodies created in Italy were disseminated throughout the Diaspora, wherethey are still sung even if their origin has been forgotten. Due to migrations, persecutions and assimilation, many musical traditions extant until before World War 2 are now lost. Yet, the contemporary Italian Jewish community of less than thirty thousand people, with its local differences and currents, still retains its multicultural world in their music.Leo LeviLeo Levi (Casale Monferrato, 1912- Jerusalem 1982) was the first scholar who devoted his research to Italian Jewish oral musical tradition. Yet, his role within the field of Jewish ethnomusicology, as well as in the development of ethnomusicology in Italy, remains to be fully recognized. The CDThe present selection is an anthology of Leo Levi's previously unreleased recordings from the original reels kept at theArchivi di Etnomusicologia of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the National Sound Archives in Jerusalem. Levi's fieldwork was aimed at documenting a very large and diverse repertoire, with restricted means and in extremely limitedtime. Thus, most items in his Collection are only a few minutes, or seconds, long. This enabled to present a choice of forty-two pieces (less than five percent of the whole!) varying in ritual, location and musical content, and sung by twenty-eight different performers.The content follows a liturgical order, beginning with the Shabbat (Sabbath) and the High Holy Days and continuing with the various Festivals and holidays, following the Jewish calendar. The last sections include liturgical songs and piyutim for the "life cycle" (birth, circumcision and wedding). All songs are performed unaccompanied by solo voice or by small groups in the traditional style (although from the 19th century and until the early 1950's,several pieces were sung in a polyphonic setting, accompanied by the organ). All the performers (except tr. 5 and 41) are men, and were identified by Levi as carriers of the tradition of their respective communities. All texts are in Hebrew, except for some Passover and Purim songs [tr. 24-27, 35-36] sung in the local Judeo-Italian dialects, and a hymn for the Jewish emancipation [tr. 42].Each track is fully described in the CD bookletShabbat and Torah Readings1. Mizmor ledavid (Casale Monferrato, Ashkenazi)2. Lekhah dodi (Torino, Italian)3. Yigdal (Pitigliano, Italian)4. Qiddush (Roma, Italian)5. Tzur mishelo akhalnu (Ferrara, Italian)6. En kamokha baelim adonay (Gorizia, Ashkenazi)7-9. Torah readings: Bereshit (Gen. I) -- 7. Roma, Sephardi; 8. Torino, Italian; 9. Pitigliano, Italian10. Qaddish --- Hamavdil (Ferrara, Ashkenazi)11. Havdalah (Roma, Italian)High Holy Days12. Kol berue (Padova, Italian)13. Ahot qetanah (Trieste, Sephardi)14. Shofet kol haaretz (Venezia, Ashkenazi)15. 'Alenu (Asti, Apam)16. Hon tahon (Venezia, Sephardi)17. Kol nedarim (Torino, Italian)18. Birkat kohanim (Alessandria, Italian)19. El nora 'alilah (Firenze, Sephardi)20. 'Et sha'are ratzon (Torino, Italian)Passover and Shavu'ot21. Betzet yisrael (Ferrara, Italian)22. Yigdal (Venezia, Ashkenazi)23. Qiddush 'erev pesah (Trieste, Ashkenazi)24. 'Avadim hayinu -- Schiavi fummo (Ancona, Italian)25. Chad gadiah -- E venne il signor padre (Firenze, Italian)26. J riv 'l lu (Moncalvo, Apam)27. Che volera, che intendera (Siena, Italian)28. Hallel (Ps. 117-118, Livorno,Sephardi)29. Yigdal (Gorizia, Ashkenazi)Simhat Torah30. Mashiah wegam eliah (Siena, Italian)31. Amen amen amen shem nora (Ancona, Sephardi)32. Shalom lekha dodi (Firenze, Sephardi)Hannukah and Purim33. Berakhah -- Ma'oz tzur (Verona, Ashkenazi)34. Megilat Esther (Est. I:1-5, Casale Monferrato, Ashkenazi)35. Akh zeh hayom qiwiti/Fate onore al bel Purim (Livorno, Sephardi)36. Barekhu/Wal viva, viva nostro Burino (Livorno, Sephardi)Nascite, circoncisioni e matrimoni37. Yehi shalom behelenu (Trieste, Sephardi)38. Bar Yohai (Roma, Sephardi)39. Arze levanon yifrahu (Padova, Italian)40. Qehi kinor (Casale Monferrato, Ashkenazi)41. Haleluyah (Ferrara, Italian)42. L'emancipazione israelitica (Casale Monferrato, Ashkenazi)

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