Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cantor Zavel Kwartin: Ribono Shel Olam (1928)

Chazzanut/Cantorial Music

“They see the hazzan as the true spokesman for their buried feelings,
who evokes with his prayers their longing for a better future.”
Zavel Kwartin, Mein Lebn (1952)

Ribono Shel Olam by Cantor Zavel Kwartin
Via: Youtube

Cantor Zevulun Zavel Kwartin  [1874–1952] landed in 1920 in the United States, his reputation preceding him, whereby he gave a series of successful concerts and was then appointed cantor of Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. He achieved great fame as a hazzan, possibly also being the highest-paid hazzan during what was called the Golden Age of Chazzanut. Kwartin had a rich baritone voice, as you can hear in this rendition of a heartfelt prayer to the Master of the Universe; the prayer is taken from the Talmud (Berakoth 55b), and this improvisation on this traditional prayer is by Cantor Kwartin and arranged by Solomon G. Braslavsky, who plays the pipe organ [see here]. He published three volumes of his musical compositions: the two-volume set, Smiroth Zebulon in 1928, and T’filos Zevulun in 1938. As for his yichus, Kwartin was born to a wealthy Chassidic family in Ukraine in pre WWI  Russia and died in the United States (in New York and arranged to be buried in Israel). For more on this cantor, there is a wonderful article on Chazzanut Online.

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