(b Liegnitz, Nov 22, 1921; d Heidelberg, Jan 15, 1989). Israeli bass of German birth. He studied in Berlin and Mannheim, making his début in 1961 at Gelsenkirchen as Iago. Engaged at Stuttgart, he sang regularly at Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin, where he created Soroker in Blacher’s 200 000 Taler (1969). Though his vast repertory included Don Alfonso and Hans Sachs, he specialized in 20th-century opera; he sang Dallapiccola’s Ulysses, Morone (Palestrina), Duke Adorno (Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten), Busoni’s Faust, Satan (Penderecki’s Paradise Lost), Reimann’s Lear and Schoenberg’s Moses (he has twice recorded the role of Moses). He created Löwel Perl in Penderecki’s Schwarze Maske at Salzburg (1986). The role that best displayed his outstanding musical and dramatic gifts was Dr Schön in Lulu, which he sang at Covent Garden (1981), at the Teatro Real in Madrid (...
(b Hammels Station, Long Island, NY, June 28, 1902; d New York, Dec 30, 1979). American composer. He was the second son of Dr William A. Rodgers (originally Rogazinsky) and Mamie Levy, Russian Jews who had emigrated to the United States in 1860...
William A. Everett
(b Nagykanizsa, July 29, 1887; d New York, Nov 9, 1951). American composer and conductor of Hungarian birth. He was born into a cultured Jewish household: his father was an amateur pianist who spoke four languages, while his mother was a respected writer of poetry and short stories. Romberg studied at various places in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before eventually going to Vienna, where his parents’ intent was for him to study civil engineering. Instead, Romberg focussed on music, working as a coach and accompanist at the Theater an der Wien, and studying composition and orchestration with operetta composer Victor Heuberger, thereby absorbing the world of Viennese operetta. In 1909, he arrived in New York City and found work as a pianist at various restaurants. He formed and conducted a small orchestra at Bustanoby’s, a venue frequented by the theatre world, where he came to the attention of the Shubert brothers who, in ...
(b Kraków, Jan 27, 1895; d New York, Oct 17, 1985). American conductor of Polish birth. His musical studies were in Kraków and in Vienna with Schreker. He began his career in the opera houses of Darmstadt (1922–5) and Wiesbaden (1925–7). He spent one season at the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his début directing Lohengrin in 1929. Returning to Europe, he was music director of Mannheim Opera (1930–33) and of the Jewish Kulturbund in Berlin (1933–6) until he was compelled to flee Hitler’s Germany; he then conducted in Tokyo from 1937 to 1941. In 1948 he began a long association with New York City Opera, culminating in his appointment as general manager (1952–6). After conducting in Cologne, 1958–9, he returned to the Metropolitan (1961–8), directing 175 performances of 16 operas, chiefly works of Mozart, Strauss and Wagner....
William Y. Elias
(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Beit Zayit, nr Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer and conductor of German birth . A pupil of Richard Strauss at the Berlin Academy of Arts, he became a répétiteur at the Berlin Staatsoper, sang at the Hamburg Opera and conducted in Baden-Baden. After settling in Jerusalem in 1933, he became the first music director of the Jerusalem Broadcasting Service in 1936. In 1938 he founded the Israel Radio SO (now Jerusalem SO), and from 1957 to 1962 he was director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Transcription Service. In Germany he was active in reviving Handel’s Rodelinda and in 1944 he organized the first Bach and Handel festival in Jerusalem.
On his arrival in Israel, Salmon became influenced by the folk music of the region, which resulted in such works as the Symphonic Suite on Greek Themes (1943) and the Sephardic Suite...
Musikdrama in one act by Richard Strauss to Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of Oscar Wilde’s play; Dresden, Hofoper, 9 December 1905.
After the mildly scandalous success of his second opera, Feuersnot, Strauss needed a new subject. Wolzogen, his collaborator on Feuersnot, worked hopefully at another raffish one-act comedy, drawn this time from Cervantes, but Strauss did nothing with it. Then a young Viennese poet sent him Wilde’s Salomé, proposing to adapt a libretto from it; the composer was cautiously interested (he imagined it, incredibly, as a possible pendant to Feuersnot). Though Wilde’s French original had been a failure in Paris, and in England the play was banned by the Lord Chamberlain, a German version had been well received in Breslau in 1901. Using a new translation, Max Reinhardt staged the play in Berlin the following year with spectacular success. Strauss saw it early in 1903 and swiftly decided to set this Lachmann version of the text as it stood, except for judicious trimming (mostly of subordinate clauses, though also of some marginal dialogue and one or two small roles). He began in earnest as he put the last touches to his ...
The tradition of sacred vocal (synagogue) music of the Samaritans, a religious community (which in 1999 numbered about 640), living in Nablus (Shechem) and Holon near Tel-Aviv. They claim descent from the ancient Israelites, and their music and the manner of its performance have many apparently archaic features. The Samaritans differ from the Jews in a number of ways, recognizing only the Pentateuch as canonical (and no other books of the Bible) and regarding Mt Gerizim (near Nablus) rather than Jerusalem as the supreme holy place (see John iv.20).
Samaritan music is an oral tradition sung at synagogue services and at other religious and social gatherings. It consists of performances of literary texts (the Pentateuch and prayers in Hebrew, and hymns in Samaritan Aramaic) and is sung only by men. Although old manuscripts contain Samaritan biblical accents for guiding the reading of the texts, these are no longer used today. Samaritan music can be divided into three categories: songs sung by the whole community; those sung by both a soloist and the community; and solo songs. The group songs are more syllabic in style and rhythmically repetitious, and have fewer glissandos and tremolos than solo music. They are sometimes sung in unison, but mostly antiphonally, the worshippers being divided into two groups, one on the right-hand side of the synagogue facing Mt Gerizim, the other on the left; the former group is termed the ‘right’ or ‘upper’ group, the latter the ‘left’ or ‘lower’ group. Alternate groups of verses drawn from the Pentateuch (called ‘Qataf’), or important hymns (in Samaritan Aramaic) are taken by the two groups, beginning with the ‘right’ group together with the priests; each group begins as the other reaches approximately the midpoint of its verses, so that there is an almost continuous bitextual performance. All the group songs are characterized by improvised parallel polyphony, in which all the intervals are at times found, and in which there are also usually drones and notes of indefinite pitch (...
(‘Samson and Delilah’)
Opéra in three acts and four tableaux by Camille Saint-Saëns to a libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire; Weimar, Grossherzogliches Theater, 2 December 1877.
In 1867, two years after composing his first opera, Le timbre d’argent, and with no clear prospect of seeing it staged, Saint-Saëns embarked on an oratorio on the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. The subject was suggested by Voltaire’s libretto Samson for Rameau. He admired Handel and Mendelssohn and was an enthusiastic supporter of the newly flourishing French choral movement. Saint-Saëns later wrote:
A young relative of mine had married a charming young man who wrote verse on the side. I realized that he was gifted and had in facts real talent. I asked him to work with me on an oratorio on a biblical subject. ‘An oratorio!’, he said, ‘no, let’s make it an opera!’, and he began to dig through the Bible while I outlined the plan of the work, even sketching scenes, and leaving him only the versification to do. For some reason I began the music with Act 2, and I played it at home to a select audience who could make nothing of it at all....
Chad Stephen Hamill
Scraper of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. A serrated 30- to 60-cm length of wood or bone or an oblong piece of hardened, notched rawhide is held to the ground at a slant, and scraped up and down over the notches with a stick. It was the main rhythm instrument before the advent of the drum in Sahaptin cultures and remains in use nowadays....
revised by J. Richard Haefer
Vessel rattle of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. It is made from a dried gourd (Largenaria siceraria) about 15 cm in diameter and 20 cm long. The stem end is cut off just beneath the body and large stones or pieces of broken glass are placed inside and shaken to clean the interior. The gourd is then boiled to make it harder, to sharpen the sound. Many small pebbles from the edge of desert anthills are used for the rattle elements, though some players prefer four larger stones obtained from the Gulf of California.
A handle is carved from cottonwood tree root and fitted to the open end of the gourd; the handle extends through the top of the gourd where it is secured by a small wooden peg. If it does not fit tightly, gummy secretions from the creosote bush can be used as glue. Small soundholes are drilled in the body. The tip of the handle may be decorated with downy eagle feathers....
J. Richard Haefer
Sistrum-type rattle of the Yoeme Yaqui people of Arizona and northern Mexico, and the Mayo and Guarijio peoples of Sonora, Mexico. A piece of wood approximately 30 cm long by 5 cm square has a rectangular chamber with open centre about 15 cm long cut into one end, and a rounded handle at the opposite end. Inside the chamber two sets of three or four bronze or tin disks about 8 cm in diameter are inserted on metal rods. The senasom is carried by pahko’ola (pascola) dancers and played by striking it against the palm of the left hand when the dancers wear their masks in front of their face; when dancing with the mask on the side of the face the senasom is inserted into the rihhutiam (dance belt) in the centre of the dancer’s back. Their Seri neighbours to the south most likely borrowed this rattle, which they call ...
J. Richard Haefer
End-blown courting flute of the Nez Percé (Sahaptian) people of Idaho. It is made from an elderberry stalk about 35 to 40 cm long and 3 to 4 cm in diameter, with the pith removed. There are six fingerholes plus a seventh hole said to make the sound ‘sweeter’ and also to relate the instrument to the seven-drum religion. A plug made from pitch is placed inside an opening near the proximal end. The opening is covered with a wooden block tied on with animal hide and long hair wraps; the block forms an external duct and symbolizes the wedding of a couple resulting from the playing of the flute....
(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
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 (...
Susan M. Taffe Reed and Glen Jacobs
Generic term for rattles of the Munsee Indians of the Eastern Woodlands in North America; their relatives the Unami use the word shuhënikàn. The Munsee and Unami, referred to historically as the Lenape or Delaware Indians, possess a number of vessel and suspension rattles for social and ceremonial purposes.
Turtle rattles (takwaxii-shohwuniikanal in Munsee or tahkoxi šuhənik ʌn in Unami) are made from the shells of snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), box turtles (Terrapene carolina), and painted turtles (Chrysemys picta). The shell of pamputis (snapping turtle) is used to make ceremonial rattles by removing the turtle’s entrails, inserting pebbles in the shell, and sewing the turtle’s skin back together with animal tendon. A wooden splint is run from the underside of the shell to the bottom of the turtle’s head and the extended neck is wrapped with a leather strip. The rattle is played by shaking it in a vertical position or by striking it on one’s knee....
J. Richard Haefer
Bone whistle of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. It is made from a wing or leg bone of an eagle or other large bird and has no fingerholes. It is used for signalling and is associated with personal songs, guardian spirits songs, and sun dance songs. Duct flutes (...
(b Jan 30, 1830; d Melbourne, Nov 29, 1899). Australian impresario. A violinist of German-Jewish descent, he went to Australia in 1865 as a touring concert artist with his French wife Fannie (née Dehaes, 1835–96), a soprano. In 1866 the couple joined W. S. Lyster’s opera company, in which Fannie had great success as Sélika in L’Africaine and Martin a less shining stint as conductor. In 1876, after alternating for some years between Australia and Europe, the couple formed a touring opéra bouffe company whose chief production was Maillart’s Les dragons de Villars. When, after Lyster’s death in 1880, his successor George Musgrove withdrew from the promotion of grand opera, Simonsen seized the opportunity to recruit a large Italian company, which toured with great success in 1886–7. A second Simonsen Italian company (1888) was of lesser calibre. Depressed by encroaching deafness and blindness, he died by his own hand. Three of his daughters by Fannie became professional singers, the best known being Frances Saville (...
Large wooden courting flute of the Sioux Indians of the northern Plains area of the USA. The name is derived from sĭyo (‘prairie chicken’) and tanka (‘great’ or ‘large’). This flute typifies a wide variety of such instruments used by native peoples throughout the USA and Canada, including among others the Iroquois ká’keeta’, Ojibwa bibigwan, Omaha niçude tunga, Cheyenne kahamaxé tahpeno, Flathead chłkhwa (cłxwa), Apache sul, Navajo dilnih, O’odham wa:p kuikuḍ, Yuman wĭlwĭl’tĕlhuku’p, Creek fīpa, and Yuchi lhokan’. Although occasional reference is made to the use of the flute in ceremonies and as a warning or war signal, it was usually played by young men for serenading and courting women, and for self entertainment.
It is normally made of wood or cane, with an external duct. No two instruments are identical. Plains flutes are commonly made of red cedar, although other straight-grained woods such as box-elder, ash, sumac, elderberry, redwood, osage orange, and fir are also used in the Plains–Plateau area; cane flutes are made in the southwest. Flutes have also been made from gun barrels and nickel tubing. The instruments are generally about 3 to 5 cm in diameter and 45 to 65 cm long (28 cm among the Northern Ute) A typical Plains flute is made from a straight section of wood split lengthwise and hollowed to form a cylindrical bore. A block is left inside, creating a partition between the upper and lower chambers. The upper chamber is proportionally shorter (1:4) than the lower. On the front surface a small hole is cut in each chamber, just above and below the partition. The surface around the holes is made flat and smooth and a thin wooden or lead plate is laid over it. A rectangular hole in the plate is cut exactly over the two holes in the cylinder. A wooden block or saddle, flat on the underside and carved on top according to the maker’s tradition, is tied over the plate. Air blown into the end of the upper chamber flattens into a thin stream as it passes out of the upper hole and between the partition and the plate. Entering the lower chamber, the airstream impinges on the sharp edge or lip of the plate and divides. Most of the air enters the body of the flute, while the surplus escapes from underneath the block, which has been positioned to leave the second hole partially uncovered....
Double-reed aerophone of the Haida and other peoples of British Columbia. In some types the massive blades of the reed are inserted in the narrow end of a conical wooden (typically cedar) tube and fully enclosed by a large tapered cap, into which the player blows. In other types the reed is exposed. The name is also applied to wooden whistles of British Columbia, sometimes also called ‘dance whistles’; the tapered body is halved lengthwise, hollowed, and carved to form the windway, and reassembled with pitch and twine or split spruce root binding....
(b Sombor, 1794; d Belgrade, 1870). Serbian composer and conductor of Jewish origin. He taught music in Šabac and held a conducting post in Novi Sad. Invited in 1831 to the court of Prince Miloš Obrenović, he founded and directed the prince’s Serbian Orchestra, which played in his Serbian Theatre in Kragujevac and Belgrade. In 1840 he moved with the court to Belgrade, where he was active until 1864. He was the outstanding figure of early Serbian stage life and composed and arranged music for several plays, containing overtures and vocal and instrumental numbers: many of the songs were influenced by Serbian or oriental folktunes and achieved wide popularity. Owing to its musical richness Ženidba cara Dušana (‘The Marriage of Tsar Dušan’; 1840, Kragujevac) is regarded as an opera, although Šlezinger conceived the music to accompany Atanasije Nikolić’s play.S. Ðurić-Klajn: ‘Razvoj muzičke umetnosti u Srbiji’ [The Development of the Art of Music in Serbia], in ...