Review of Restoring the Synagogue Soundtrack: Jewish Religious Music in Nineteenth Century America by Judah M. Cohen.

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Abstract

Many topics in music history are strewn with prejudice and received wisdom. Jewish music, especially nineteenth-century Jewish music that lies outside the perceived central-European 'mainstream', is a clear example of such a topic. Judah M. Cohen's new book succeeds in transcending received wisdom and sketches a convincing and, in many ways, pioneering narrative. To test the freshness of the narrative, one needs only to count Cohen's references to Abraham Z. Idelsohn's Jewish Music in Its Historical Development (New York: Holt, 1929)—four fleeting mentions in the main text, (excluding the Introduction and Conclusion). Idelsohn's absence from a book on nineteenth-century Jewish music has been almost inconceivable until recently, and Cohen earned this independence after having critically studied Idelsohn's legacy ('Rewriting the Grand Narrative of Jewish Music: Abraham Z. Idelsohn in the United States', The Jewish Quarterly Review 100, no. 3 [2010]: 417–453).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-189
Number of pages2
JournalFontes Artis Musicae
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

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