Cantors in the Cathedral

FRANK CLIFF The sounds of the Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs – a welcome song for the Sabbath bride – sung by Mimi and Isaac Sheffer as they progressed from nave to chancel of this Norwich Cathedral provided an atmospheric beginning to this late-night programme of Jewish liturgical music.

FRANK CLIFF

The sounds of the Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs – a welcome song for the Sabbath bride – sung by Mimi and Isaac Sheffer as they progressed from nave to chancel of this Norwich Cathedral provided an atmospheric beginning to this late-night programme of Jewish liturgical music.

The cantorial careers of this husband-and-wife team began in synagogues in New York, although they now live in Berlin.

Accompanied by Peter-Michael Siefried, director of music at Marienfelde Church in Berlin, Isaac opened with a blessing, impressing immediately with his clear tenor and restrained yet imaginative delivery. He included three pieces by Louis Lewandowski, a 19th century reformer of Jewish music; works which combined the traditional with the then contemporary style.

Mimi's approach was more theatrical. She trained as an opera singer and has a superb dramatic voice. No surprise to hear from her a work by the 19th century operatic composer Halevy.

Mimi asked us to stand for the Sim Shalom, a prayer for peace. It was a moving experience, though it brought into focus the dicho-tomy between the sentiments in the music and the reality of today's Middle East.

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