Including a Jazz and Blues Sabbath Service
This new Milken Archive CD of music by Charles Davidson-one of the most
frequently commissioned composers by synagogues, cantors and Jewish
institutions, as well as by secular choruses across the
country-illustrates the influence and vitality of three enduring aspects
of the Jewish experience: the timeless Sabbath liturgy, the literary
legacy of the “Golden Age” of Spanish Jewry, and the vibrant folklore
tradition of Eastern European Yiddish culture.
The disc, released by Naxos American Classics, also demonstrates how
Jewish composers have embraced indigenous American idioms, expanding the
expressive boundaries of traditional synagogue music by infusing the
ancient texts with contemporary musical language.
In A Singing of Angels, Davidson vibrantly evokes the lost world of
eastern European Jewry in English-language settings of Yiddish folksongs
for children’s choir that are both charming and sophisticated. Baroque
Suite, also scored for children’s voices, celebrates the works of Yehuda
Halevi, the best-known medieval Spanish-Hebrew poet, with musical
settings inspired by 17th-century stylized dance forms. Also included
is Cantor Davidson’s trailblazing 1966 choral work, …And David Danced
Before the Lord, a Sabbath evening service sung in English and
Hebrew-the first artistically unified, full-length Jewish service to be
composed in the jazz idiom.
Davidson is is perhaps best known for his celebrated composition, I
Never Saw Another Butterfly, a setting of children’s poetry from the
Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia that has been performed
throughout the world more than 2,500 times, has frequently been
recorded, and was the subject of two award-winning PBS documentaries.
Participating artists on this disc include Amy Goldstein, soprano;
Douglas Webster, baritone; the Ramon Ricker Quintet; the Finchley
Children’s Music Group; the Jewish Heritage Youth Chorus (London); the
Buffalo Vocal Ensemble; and conductors Nicholas Wilks and Brad Lubman.
For details about this CD, go to
To read an article about …And David Danced Before the Lord, go to