Dr. Jerry Glantz




































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The Man Who Spoke To God - Cantor Leib Glantz - Cantor, Composer, Researcher, Writer, Educator, Zionist leader.
Sample Essays


To my great joy, I discovered that the famous 19th century Cantor Pinchas Minkowsky, from the Brody synagogue in Odessa, who was a very modern, choral, almost Reform cantor, knew how to guide his choir and his congregation when chanting the prayer Tal -- in the “general Nu’sach.”
  I use the words “to my great joy” because when I composed my composition “Tal”, (the two portions of Tal that are in my recordings,) I did not realize that Minkowsky had done so as well. At that time, I could not bear this neglect, and at the very beginning I sang the words E’lo’kei’nu Ve’E’lo’kei A’vo’tei’nu in the “Nu’sach from Sinai”:
  The Man Who Spoke To God
  Incidentally, the Chasidim selected this text and clothed it in various and sundry melodies. Indeed there are melodic kernels of Nu’sach in many Chasidic tunes. These are tunes that are sung at the Rabbi’s table, and songs that are sung before and after the study of the To’rah. Some of these tunes are even sung at festive meals, often accompanied by Chasidim dancing with devotion and transcendent ecstasy. But as much as these songs may beautify our family life in the home, they should not be brought into the synagogue to supplant the appropriate traditional Nu’sach.
  The original Jewish Tal must be garbed in “oriental” dress -- in oriental scales. The cantor must do everything he can to divest himself of those ordinary Major and Minor keys. The agricultural village life of our country must be given the proper and true musical expression in our prayers. It is very important that the “Nu’sach from Sinai” be revived, perhaps in a modernistic manner, but in a clear and concrete fashion.
  Excerpt from: Nu’sach Ha’llel and Tal, by Leib Glantz, 1961.
If it were true that the A'ha'va Ra'bah Nu’sach is just an “adopted son” of the Jewish people, then the people of Israel were very good at the “art” of adoption. The Jews fell in love with this adopted “child,” nourished it, and turned it into their dearest son (Ben Ya’kir Ve’Ye’led Sha’a’shu’im.) Some secular musicologists have claimed that the mode on which the A’ha’va Ra’bah Nu’sach is built on is not Jewish but foreign -- Gypsy, Armenian, or other. My answer to them is very simple: They are wrong!
  Let us analyze the A’ha’va Ra’bah Nu’sach. We may just discover that it is Jewish in its origin.
  The Jews introduced a fundamental and original modification that was purely Jewish: they added an additional Tetrachord that begins from the fifth tone below the E, which is A. In other words, the “Phrygian” and the “Phrygish” combined together. This new Tetrachord is totally different: it does not employ an augmented second. This Tetrachord, which begins on A and continues B – C# – D – E is very surprising because it is a Major Tetrachord, as opposed to the first two Tetrachords that are clearly “Phrygish.”
  Cantors traditionally begin the A’ha’va Ra’bah Nu’sach not from the tone E, but from the tone A (the fifth tone below the E):
  The Man Who Spoke To God
  This is a very peculiar and typically Jewish line! The music of no other culture’s has anything similar to this.

Excerpts from: Nu’sach A’ha’va Ra’bah, by Leib Glantz, 1961.

Even regular synagogue worshipers that are not accustomed to be leaders of the prayer services, find themselves chanting this Ye’kum Pur’kan or A’do’nai Ma’lach Nu’sach to themselves even before the cantor finishes singing each prayer. The Jewish Major has grasped their hearts and they are connected to it with blind love, whether they are aware of it or not!
  It is therefore clear why the Yiddish song “A Cha’zan’dl of Sha’bbes” has become so popular, even though its lyrics are a bit vulgar. The melody itself is totally Nu’sach A’do’nai Ma’lach (or Ye’kum Pur’kan). It is exactly the Nu’sach of the prayer Zar’a’cha Cha’ya Ve’Ka’ya’ma:
  The Man Who Spoke To God
  Even more characteristic is the fact that this Nu’sach is etched into a very important prayer -- the A’vot of the Shach’rit and Mu’saf services of the High Holidays. There we find all four Tetrachords in the most obvious of forms. This is actually the Nu’sach Mi’Sinai, which is totally and independently Jewish.
  Many Ba’a’lei Te’fi’la and even some cantors that are not musically trained, fail in their execution of the High Holiday A’vot chant, only because they are not quite aware of how complex and complicated it really is. They need to realize that the chant needs to be opened in a very low tone, because as they rise to the higher stages of this lengthy mode, their voice can actually choke, and they are in danger of temporarily losing their voice! In this case they will find it almost impossible to return to the Nu’sach.
  Excerpts from: Nu’sach A’do’nai Ma’lach and the Jewish Major, by Leib Glantz, 1961.