Building on the success of our first compact disc, “Come O Sabbath Day” , the Society for Classical Reform Judaism is about to release our second recording – “Open the Gates Unto Us: Music for the High Holy Days in the Tradition of Classical Reform Judaism.” Our SCRJ Board member, Cantor Aaron Kaplan of Boynton Beach, Florida, compiled this great program from live recordings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services at Chicago Sinai Congregation, Temple Sinai of New Orleans, and Temple Emanu-El, New York. Learn more about Classical Reform Judaism at RenewReform.org. Follow the Society on Facebook at Classical Reform.
The program includes many of the beloved standards of the repertoire for the Days of Awe, in their majestic Classical Reform settings for choir and organ. Among these highlights are the Shofar Service of A.W. Binder, and the revered Avinu Malkaynu by Max Janowski. Also included are unique arrangements, such as a brass and organ fanfare version of Julius Mombach’s “Baruch Habah”, a mainstay of the British synagogue tradition, adapted as an opening anthem for Rosh Hashanah; and the rarely heard “Adon Olam” by Ivor Warren. This glorious version of the major hymn of Jewish liturgy was composed for the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London in the 1930’s. 19th century European masters such as Salomon Sulzer, whose stirring Adon Olam is the closing hymn of the program, are well represented as are 20th century American composers such as Ben Steinberg, Herbert Fromm and Marshall Portnoy.
This program is conceived both as a spiritual resource, to enrich the experience of the High Holy Days with inspirational music not readily available in many congregations today, as well as a document of a major tradition of faith and creativity in our broader Jewish cultural heritage.