- Alexander Knapp
(b Hohenems, March 30, 1804; d Vienna, Jan 17, 1890). Austrian cantor and composer. He was the first musician since Salamone Rossi to raise the standards of composition and performance in the synagogue. Three outstanding qualities made him legendary among Jews of the western world. First, his baritone-tenor voice drew admiration not only from the Viennese community whom he served as Obercantor from 1826 until 1881, but also from scholars, musicians (including Meyerbeer, Schubert, Schumann and Liszt), and even the aristocracy; in 1868 he became Knight of the Order of Franz Joseph. Second, his fiery temperament created a vogue among contemporary cantors, who tried to imitate both his singing style and his everyday deportment. Third, and most significant in the development of Jewish music, his compositions became the models upon which almost every newly emancipated congregation based its synagogue ritual covering the entire year. Schir Zion (music for the synagogue service), published in two separate volumes (...