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Henry Sapoznik

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 4, 1912; d Plantation, FL, March 18, 2000) American klezmer clarinetist, saxophonist, and violinist. Though born in the United States, he was considered an equal of the great European klezmer clarinetists such as Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein.

Beginning his career at age 12 playing violin for silent movies, Epstein mastered the clarinet and later the saxophone, and played regularly on the Yiddish stage, on the radio, and in concert. The Epstein Brothers, including Max, Willie (trumpet), Isidore, or “Chizik” (clarinet) and Julie (drums), dominated the New York Jewish music scene for nearly three decades. They are best known for their playing in the Hasidic community in postwar New York, where they became the pre-eminent orchestra. They issued several recordings, including the classic LP Dukes of Freilachland (1958).

After a disastrous investment in a Yiddish theater, Max and his brothers abandoned New York for Florida, where they continued to play for weddings and parties. The number of people who requested the music they had mastered steadily diminished throughout the 1960s, however. The renewed interest in klezmer music in the 1970s brought them out of retirement. Their career was further enhanced when keyboard player Pete Sokolow (...

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Shofar  

Jeremy Montagu

(Heb., pl. shofarot)

The ram's horn of the Bible; it is the only ancient Jewish liturgical instrument that survived the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 ce and is still in use. For a discussion of the shofar in biblical times, see Biblical instruments, §3, (x); see also Jewish music, §II.

In post-biblical times, the shofar was still widely used for signalling, not only as an alarm but also with some symbolical intent on occasions of natural or man-made catastrophe such as droughts, famine or raging inflation. It was also used on occasions of rejoicing and jubilation (the word ‘jubilee’ is derived from the name of a special form of the instrument, the shofar ha-yovel), a practice still in use today among the Sephardim.

The Ashkenazim, however, use the shofar only during the month of Ellul, on Rosh Hashanah (New Year; the first day of the following month) and Yom Kippur. On Rosh Hashanah it is blown at several points during the service, symbolically to call Israel together and to summon all Jews to repentance and to God; all adult male Jews are under obligation to hear the shofar on this day. Four calls are blown in varying combinations at each point (...