|Salomon Sulzer – The reformer
Salomon Sulzer was appointed cantor in Hohenems in 1820. Vocalists and bassists attended the service. In towns, the Sulzer type was widespread and quickly developed, whereas in rural areas, unison was preferred.
Quotation (from the book „Cantor Salomon Sulzer and his time“ from Hanoch Avenary):
“The highly estimated k.k. n-ö. Federal state government may graciously allow: Three talented individuals, of ethical character and with an excellent reputation shall speak prayers, conduct moral speeches and instructions and be collectively paid....”
Sulzer made following applications to the synod (a meeting of rabbis to decide about religious and liturgical reforms) in Leipzig:
1.) Teaching Jewish pupils in liturgical singings.
2.) The main pieces of the Hebrew service shall be sung in the same melody
in all synagogues.
3.) Instrumental accompaniment of synagual singings shall be adopted everywhere.
4.) The Kaddish prayer shall be spoken by the mourners only once and a line which remembers the relative should be added.
5.) The weekly chapters of the Torah should be distributed to various days of the week.
6.) Calling the community on the Torah which should awake the word of God, shall be abolished.
7.) Schools for educating cantors shall be established.
16.) Unisonous chanting should be preferrably practised.
17.) Therefore (see no. 16) the organ is recommended as accompaniment.
18.) Choral singing for several voices and other musical performances are recommendable only where enough strength is existing; every kind of secular music shall be kept away from it.
Point 7 was adopted in a resolution of the commission for education. Sulzers proposals met with weak response after the end of the synod.
About chanting during synagogue service:
“The chant is very impressive, the choir, consisting of 12 boys, comes up with Jehé schme rabba, Baruch hu uvaruch schmo, Amen, Kriat Schma, Keduscha and many other episodes. In addition, they sing most psalms which occur during service: Tov lehordot (Ps. 92), Havu la’schem bne elim (Ps. 29), Hallel (Pss. 113-118), Aschré (Ps. 144.15-155), Pijutim Rosch haschana weJom kippur (hymns of New Year and reconciliation celebration) – etc. The prayer leader shall preach milá bemilà, and sing certain melodies, important and solemn episodes shall be sung in two or three voices, as he has 2 supporters beside the choir. They can but shall not sing without repeating the text. Our compositions are mainly masterpieces of chant."
Salomon Sulzer supported the use of an organ, even though the experienced preacher Mannheimer expected the absence of many Jews from service, “who were uncomfortable with the organ as a christian instrument.” Sulzer considered the organ as a support for various chanting types (to organise the singing in big synagogues and as a proven medium to enhance prayer, etc.).
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