Sh’ma Yisrael (Leib Glantz)Azi Schwartz
In challenging times, as well as in happy times, this prayer ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One’, has served as a symbol of faith throughout the generations. It is a statement that is traditionally recited twice daily and on special occasions, calling on one to be present and accept the moment. On Shabbat and holidays, the text is expanded in the liturgy of the Musaf service, inviting cantors to spontaneously express their feelings through the virtuosity of their voices. This masterpiece by Cantor Leib Glantz (1898-1964) was considered avant-garde at the time it was written but has become a gem in the cantorial repertoire. My teacher, Cantor Chaim Feifel, a student of Glantz, explains that in order to understand Glantz’s innovation we need to understand the notion of tension and release cycles in the music, reflecting these elements of life itself. Whether you experience tension or release right now, I hope Glantz’s music soothes your soul and helps you to be present.
Recorded live in Amsterdam (2017) for the PBS Special “The New York Cantors”
Arrangement/Orchestration: Raymond Goldstein/Bob Zimmerman
Conductor: Jules Van Hessen
Producer: Daniel Hart
Lyrics [Shabbat musaf]
Sh’ma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai
ehad. Hu Eloheinu, hu avinu, hu malkeinu,
hu moshi·einu, v’hu yashmi·enu b’rahamav
sheinit l’einei kol hai lih’yot lakhem lelohim.
Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord
is One. He is our God and our Father; He is
our King and our Redeemer. In His mercy
He will let us hear a second time in the
presence of all that lives His declaration to
be ‘Your God’.