Monthly Archives: December 2006

Music in Jewish History and Culture

By Emanuel Rubin and John H. Baron

In a carefully chosen title, Rubin and Baron set about to teach not only Jewish music but to give the reader a handle to understand their working definition of Jewish music which is “Jewish music is music that serves Jewish purposes.” Thus Music in Jewish History and Culture is a title that tells the reader that any music “that serves Jewish purposes” in the course of time, various places and for various Jewish cultural or religious purposes might be construed as Jewish music. This is functional music. It must be at the service of those in the community for religious, spiritual, national, psychological, artistic or cultural matters. In the end, there are many Jewish musics. These are not only the product of the ages past such as cantillation, nusach or synagogue modes, but also the music of the streets of today’s youth in Israel or elsewhere.…

Irving Fine: An American Composer in His Time

By Phillip Ramey

This thoroughly researched biography, commissioned by Verna Fine, widow of the composer, is a highly readable entree not only to the life and works of Irving Fine, but to the history of the Brandeis University Department of Music. Irving Fine was a highly creative and innovative composer, and became the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Music and Chairman of the School of Creative Arts at Brandeis. His inventive leadership of a newly formed Creative Arts Department would set the tone and course of study for the next 50 years. Fine had taught theory and music history at Harvard from 1939-50, when he joined the music faculty of Brandeis in Fall, 1950, as Lecturer in Music and Composer in Residence. Fine’s intellect led him to a style of “Stravinskian neoclassicism and romatically inflected serialism” that was to catch the imagination and close friendship of the American musical luminaries of the day, including Boston Symphony conductor Serge Koussevitzky, composers Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, and his Brandeis colleagues Harold Shapero and Arthur Berger.…