A Tangled Legacy: 1000 Years of French Jewry in Words and Music
All musical genres—religious, classical, jazz, cabaret and North African
The music and history of the Jews of France from the time of Rashi to today will be featured in a major concert on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 7 pm, Temple Emanu-El, Providence. The concert features stories, scenes and music from French historical eras, starting with examples from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, through the centuries to today, performed by outstanding instrumental soloists, guest vocal soloists and choir. Each era will be put in its historical and Jewish context through an original script.
The program begins with a scene of young men huddled around a Talmud volume, chanting in the style of Rashi’s time. Next, a trio of young women from the teen choir Kol Kesem Hazamir, portray Rashi’s daughters—who were said to have studied Torah—singing a traditional version of Adon Olam. Then a harpsichord and recorder accompany scenes and songs of French Renaissance Jewry. When the concert reaches the French Revolution, instrumentalists play La Marseillaise but the choir sings the Hebrew words to Eil Adon and the audience is invited to sing, too. For the Classical, Romantic and modern eras, the music is varied but familiar: Shabbat melodies by Samuel Naumberg we still sing to day, Jacques Offenbach’s Can Can, Kurt Weill’s cabaret song Je ne t’aime pas, and Darius Milhaud’s jazzy Caramel Mou. As the narrative reaches the decades of North African French Jew’s repatriation to France, the program features the toe tapping melodies of their Shabbat service.