Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"There Is Hope"

(Image courtesy of Modzitz.org)


Yitz commenting on "Who Can Say Who's Experiencing Deveykus?"

Smashed Hat wrote, "But who is creating new niggunim in the traditional styles that are as deep as the old ones? This worries me."

Ah, finally someone is bothered by this! BUT, THERE IS HOPE, and IMNSHO, there are not too many addresses for this. But by far, the top of the line is: the Modzitzer Rebbes. For 5 generations now, they have composed dozens of niggunim each and every year. As I've mentioned on my blog, each year there are usually between a dozen and a dozen-and-a-half niggunim for the Yamim Noraim alone.

The previous Rebbe, the Nachalas Dan, composed 19 new niggunim last year, before suffering a stroke which he was eventually niftar from. Baruch Hashem, they were recorded and sung for the Yamim Noraim.

This year, the Rebbe Shlita composed 10 new niggunim for Rosh Hashana, the 10th one was actually composed on Yom Tov, and he taught it to us at the Tish on the afternoon of the Second Day.

They usually compose another 10 or so throughout the rest of the year, for Yom Tov, simchos etc.

The newly-established music institute [Machon L'Musika] has collected over 3000 Modzitz niggunim, so far!

So come to a Tish in Bnei Brak, or at least go to the Modzitz Shtibel in Flatbush [Coney & L], where Reb Ben Zion Shenker davens. RBZ has composed several hundred niggunim himself!

A Simple Jew comments:

I spent some time last night on the Modzitz website listening to various niggunim. While I certainly can appreciate the beauty of melodies such as Modzitzer Waltz, I have a trouble getting past the instrumental accompaniment that strikes me as a bit antiquated. This is by no means a criticism of the niggunim themselves, Modzitz, or Ben Zion Shenker. I simply don't think the musical accompaniment do these niggunim justice. I also think Jews who were raised listening to secular popular music will find it difficult to listen only to this balad style recording.

When I hear the niggunim of Modzitz in a more "modern" context on Andy Statman's CDs it definitely helps me to appreciate them better. Perhaps you are correct when you say the very best way to experience them is live in Modzitz!

33 Comments:

At October 25, 2006 at 9:19:00 AM EDT, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Rabbi Michel Twerski Shlita writes beautiful melodies in the "old" style. But he's a little more sophisticated than the peasant style that Carlebach popularized. He writes in a more classical vein, with long melodic runs and implied chord changes.

I was zocheh to be involved in two of his recordings. You can get his albums at www.bethjehudah.org

 
At October 25, 2006 at 10:31:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Thanks so much, ASJ, for the ringing endorsement. I have linked to this post on my blog as well.
As to the musical instrumentation on Modzitz recordings, I agree with you, basically. Most of the recordings posted on the modzitz.org website are quite old - in fact, Modzitz was the FIRST to record Jewish music, before Carlebach and Twerski, with their first vinyl record in 1956! [Carlebach's first was released in 1959].
You may find the musical arrangements on a more recent recording, "A Shabbos in Modzitz", more to your liking. But this is one problem we have in Modzitz - there hasn't been new releases of their music in YEARS, except, as you mention, a few niggunim recorded here & there by people like Andy Statman [Musa Berlin also has a niggun of theirs here & there on his recordings]. Speaking of Musa, try the recording "Sulam" which has a "Niggun Modzitz miBeis Abba" [Modzitz melody from my father's home] which is just fantastic!
Hopefully, now that we have a Machon [music institute], more recordings will be released to the public. So far, they have produced 10 years of the Imrei Aish's niggunim [approximately 120 tunes] on 5 cassettes; and 2 recordings of music played at recent Modzitz Chasunas [weddings]. But these are still not up-to-par with a good quality studio recording.
Hopefully, that too will come!

 
At October 25, 2006 at 10:42:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Phew! I am glad you took that the right way. I thought I might be opening up a fire storm by being somewhat critical.

It is very interesting to me that even you acknowledge this problem. I appreciate your further recommendations and I will be sure to check in to them.

Perhaps Modzitz should ask C Lanzbom and Noah Solomon to do a Modzitz CD like they did in their latest release "The Chabad Sessions" (which I think is excellent). This might help a younger generation appreciate what came before them.

...also, thanks for the link as well! :)

 
At October 25, 2006 at 11:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

You can find a good review of the Sulam recording here, which includes 2-minute samples of each of the 11 songs on it. BTW, the Niggun MiBeis Abba is almost 9 minutes long, and quite faithful to the original version of Rebbe Shaul Yedidya Elazar of Modzitz [the second Rebbe]. Listen to it here.
Another review is here, and still another view of it can be found here. I think Musa Berlin would be more qualified to record Modzitzer music, and also more to the Rebbe Shlita's liking, than Soulfarm.
Oh, & how can I forget! Avi Adrian's recording of Modzitz music, "From Dust Created." Take a look here for the tracks, including some samples.
And here's Blog in Dm's review: Avi Adrian "From Dust Created: Adrian Interprets Modzitz -- This is a great solo jazz piano recording of Modzitzer tunes. I highly recommend this one. A nice set. Also includes one Adrian original, "Ish Tzadik." The reharms on "Nigun No. 15" are particularly tasty. [His review was on Dec 21/04, wherein he reviewed a host of recordings, so I just copied the relevant part here].

 
At October 25, 2006 at 11:54:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

I, too, listened to the nigunim and tried to imagine sitting at a table and singing. The audio downloads would be a classing example (from the world of writing, thanks to Ramond Carver[American author, thought of as the father of college "Creative Writing" courses"]) of LESS IS MORE or SHOW IT, DON'T TELL IT.

Parhaps if just vocal recording could become available that might be a nitche market for listeners.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 11:58:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Flash! An even better site for Adrian's recording: the company which issued his recording, Reshimu Music.
There you can find 2 video clips of him, several fully downloadable audio clips, plus a brief description of the man himself.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:01:00 PM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Neil - you may be right, at least for some people. Perhaps the recordings of the Imrei Aish's niggunim would be for you, which are ONLY singing with no instrumental accompaniment.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:16:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

I actually think there would be a market for just a vocal CD. Jewish music today is saturated with over-produced artists. That’s the beauty of something like Carlebach’s “Live at the Village Gate”. Stripped down niggunim might be the next big thing.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:18:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz: Thanks for all the links! I really like Niggun MiBeis Abba.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:48:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I personally find, that Poylishe Chasidus tends have more waltzes and marches. Dveykus nigunim are more rare. On the other hand, Ukrainsher and Rusisher Chasidus tends use more mystical nigunim (long dveykus nigunim). Even dance and simcho nigunim have a different touch to them. It is hard to describe this difference it concrete terms. I would say in Russian nigunim it is more open, that they are intended for hisboydedus / hisboynenus and other Chasidic mystical practices.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:50:00 PM EDT, Blogger Ben Bresky said...

just wanted to drop a note to say your conversation is interesting and i hear you guy, i hear you.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:50:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I'm waiting to get a CD with nigunim form Reb Pinchos Koritzer zy"o and his talmidim. This should be something special. The most profound nigunim I've ever found were of tzadikim of earlier generations, especially of Baal Shem Tov and his talmidim.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:54:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Where did you find this CD, A Yid? I am sure Shoshana (Bershad) would like to know as well. (BTW: Next week I plan to post another great guest posting from her)

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:55:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks, Ben!

 
At October 25, 2006 at 12:58:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

A Simple Jew: You gave me the link actually. I thought you know about this disk. You can find information about this CD on the site about "Imrey Pinchos".

 
At October 25, 2006 at 1:06:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Aha! Did you order it awhile ago?

 
At October 25, 2006 at 1:35:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yitz-
How can one get the recordings of the Imrei Aish's niggunim from the Machon?

 
At October 25, 2006 at 2:21:00 PM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

A Yid wrote: I personally find, that Poylishe Chasidus tends have more waltzes and marches. Dveykus nigunim are more rare.
That may be true about Ger [Gur], & even then I'm not sure. In Modzitz, only a tiny fraction of the niggunim have been officially released to the public. AND EVEN THERE, you will find longer Tish & dveykus niggunim. I'll give you some examples from the Modzitz Chai [in numerical order] series:
#1 - Both Uvashofar Gadol [9 minutes] and Chamol are dveykus niggunim. Shoshanas Yaakov [almost 8 min] is a masterpiece!
#2 - Prok Yas Anach - dveykus. Yedid Nefesh, 6-3/4 mins., Tish niggun. Mizmor L'David, 5 mins. dveykus masterpiece.
#3 - Tal 8 mins., Tish niggun.
#4 - Mimkomcha, 6 mins., dveykus.
Unrecorded lengthy niggunhim - 5 "Operas" of Rebbe Shaul, 10-15 min. masterpieces.
Ezkera, first Rebbe - 20 minute, 36-part masterpiece.
Akdamus niggun - partially march, dveykus, 12-min. masterpiece.
I could go on & on, but I hope you get the idea.

ASJ, A YID - PLEASE tell us more about the Koretzer niggunim & how to get them.

ANON 1:35 PM - I'm working on an answer for you.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 2:27:00 PM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

ASJ wrote: I really like Niggun MiBeis Abba.
Yes, it's wonderful! But if you've only heard the first 2 minutes on the clip, that's only the introductory part. It gets better & more intense as it goes on for close to 9 minutes!

 
At October 25, 2006 at 6:41:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Look here: http://www.shemolam.com/rabbi%20pinchos%20of%20koretz-%20e.files/frame.htm#slide0060.htm
You'll have to call to Bney Brak for it, or find someone who can go there.

I tried to order it through "Sifrey Chasidus", but they didn't get it yet.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 6:48:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

While by all means the creation of new niggunim is a great thing, with the number of old niggunim out there, perhaps we should spend some more time learning them as well.

-"A Yid said... I personally find, that Poylishe Chasidus tends have more waltzes and marches. On the other hand, Ukrainsher and Rusisher Chasidus tends use more mystical nigunim (long dveykus nigunim)"

This fits in very well (at least according to my 'Chabad-Chagas' break down of chassidus) with the general difference in Avodah between the various chassidusin as discussed recently.

 
At October 25, 2006 at 6:50:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I don't think it fits with Chabad / Chagas breakdown at all. Karlin which is a classical Chagas in your terms, has a very powerful dveykus and simcho nigunim of great depth.

 
At October 26, 2006 at 5:14:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

A Yid - thanks for the link, to an interesting website. The name associated with these tunes is David ben Ami. As far as I know, he is a Breslover Chassid. The tune I heard about two frames BEFORE the link you sent, sounded like the Breslover "Yedid Nefesh" to me. Do you know that these in fact are Koretzer niggunim? Who is behind this?
Mottel - of course, there are many "old" niggunim to learn, and we are doing so all the time. But it's also important to know where this is being continued.
In my post, I didn't mean that ONLY Modzitz is producing new niggunim. Certainly there are many other Chassidic groups that do so - Belz, Ger, Vishnitz come readily to mind. However, I don't think the quantity or the quality of the Negina there approaches that of Modzitz.
And Mottel, I have to agree with A Yid - you cannot distinguish between Chabad & Chagas in terms of Negina. Both Chabad and "neutralish" [Rabbi Zwecker's preferred term] produce dveykus niggunim, for example. And again, although Ger & Modzitz may be better known for Waltzes & Marches, they also have dveykus niggunim, as I've mentioned - about Modzitz - above.

 
At October 26, 2006 at 7:56:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Also, it seems to me that it's only in Modzitz that the REBBE is the main one composing the niggunim. Yes, Chassidim like R. Ben Zion Shenker, and earlier ones like RAD Fastag, Kaufman-Yidel Eidelson, Yankeleh Radomer, etc. also do/did. But as mentioned, the Rebbes are blessed with around 2 dozen niggunim per year!
Another new recording of Modzitz music can be found here, but there's a caveat - this was a concert of Chazanim & the Israeli Philharmonic. While the performance is beautiful, in my estimation only the Chazzanim Motzen and Adler capture the Modzitz "feel" of Negina, and not some of the others.

 
At October 26, 2006 at 12:19:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Yitz: I did notice a similarity to Yedid Nefesh. But it is only partial and these are different nigunim really. I have no idea about the disc - I didn't see anything more than what is said on that site. It seems, that disc is associated with R' Frenkl, who published new Imrey Pinchos. He was sure to work only with authentic traditoions. But I'll have to see the disc and what comes with it to know more.

Breslov have quite a number of Ukrainishe nigunim, which came from Berdichev, Zlotchev etc. Why not Koretz too? Bershader chasidim were quite close to Brelovers it seeems.

 
At October 26, 2006 at 12:22:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Recently I started to learn "Pirkey Shiro" from Rav Erlanger's Shivo Einaim (in part 3 "Shaashuim"). There he speaks about nigun in great depth. Very fascinating.

 
At October 26, 2006 at 10:26:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

This fits in to how I saw things -as Ukraine/Russian non-Chabad chassidim to be a memutzah between chabad and Chagas . . .

 
At October 27, 2006 at 12:10:00 AM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Mottel: It is incorrect to put such simple frames on this matter. This "Chabad/Chagas" maximalism sometimes gets too boring already. Things are more complicated than this.

 
At October 27, 2006 at 9:15:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

A Yid wrote: Breslov have quite a number of Ukrainishe nigunim, which came from Berdichev, Zlotchev etc. Why not Koretz too?
Please inform me on what recording does Breslov do a Berditchever niggun. As far as I know, they have several from the Maggid, one from the Baal Shem, & one from the Zlotchover. Good Shabbos!

 
At October 27, 2006 at 12:30:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I didn't mean that they come from the Kdushas Leyvi zy"o. I meant that they come from the shtetl of Berdichev. I'll write more about it a bit later, bli neyder.

A gut Shabes!

 
At October 27, 2006 at 8:02:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

Things are of course mor complicated -as Chagas is Chesed-gevurah-tefers with all the combinations there with in . . .
But what can I tell you, I'm Chabad through and through.

 
At October 28, 2006 at 8:14:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Mottel: There are more things than Chabad and Chagas and their combinations, whenever you see it or not. If you don't want to notice it - it's better to leave this subject.

 
At October 28, 2006 at 8:59:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Mottel: I meant there are more in Chasidus than Chabad or Chagas whether you see it or not.

 

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