Hasidic Niggun As Sung By

2-CD set & book. The 80 pages of informative liner notes are “a valuable resource on the sociology and musical practices of contemporary Israeli Hasidim and, by
extension, those worldwide.”

Simon from Hatikvah writes: Besides elucidating the recordings, the text
can be enjoyed independently of listening to the recordings, especially as
a complement to the 1971 article by the same authors in the Encyclopedia
Judaica (vol. 7, cols. 1421-32).”
The entire project is built on the foundations of the 1976 LP & booklet
“Hassidic Tunes Of Dancing And Rejoicing,” also published by The Jewish
Music Research Center in Jerusalem. Indeed, nine of the forty-seven
selections (along with much of their commentary) also appear in the former
anthology. Much of the introductory text to the current volume also
derives from the first collection, but even the older material has not been
cut-and-pasted; rather, every paragraph shows signs of careful editing,
freshening and cross-referencing, so that there is little repetition and
much information packed inside the 80 little pages (which also appear in
the original Hebrew).
As one who has long enjoyed the original Hassidic anthology (and relied on
it in teaching the subject), it was good to reacquaint myself with the
poignant voices of Mendel Britchko and Shmuel Zalmanoff and hear additional
Nigunim which didn’t make the cut on the first album. Britchko? Zalmanoff? Not exactly household names, but therein lies the principal charm of this album: a wide variety of Nigunim pure and simple (and not-so-simple), sung principally in the late 1960’s and 1970’s by individual singers and gatherings of Hassidim whose ears had not yet been polluted by the Ortho-Pop soundtracks. Just Hassidim singing their souls in a variety of settings; it almost feels like eavesdropping.
The value of these field recordings extends beyond the strict boundaries of
Hassidic music. As living exponents of a continuous East-European Jewish
song tradition, these singers have a lot to teach Jewish musicians in the
areas of melodic phrasing and rhythmic subtleties. Exploring these prayers,
Nigunim and Yiddish songs and will help contextualize many components of
the Klezmer repertoire, and even shed light on a number of issues,such as the Jewish waltz, the singing ofHassidic girls, and “quartertones” in Jewish music.”