Eloheinu Tavo (Sigmund Schlesinger b. 1835): Beverley Chiat (Soprano) & Albert Combrink (Live 2013

Recorded on Yom Kippur 2013


Eloheinu Tavo (Sigmund Schlesinger b. 1835) Text in Hebrew and English:

(I apologise in advance if my Hebrew transliteration or translation is not always 100% correct)

Part 1 – Soloist
Eluhenu velohenu avotenu – O God of our Fathers

Tavo le faneche tefilatenu – Let our prayers come before you

Veal titalam mitchinatenu – Hide not thyself from supplication

She en anachnu azefanim – For we are not so arrogant

Ukshe oref – or hardened


Part 2 – Soloist
Lomar le fanecha – That we should not say before

Adonai e lefanecha velohe avotenu – O Lord, our God and God of our fathers

Tzadikim anachnu – we are righteous

Velo chatanu – that we are sinless

Aval anachnu chatanu – but verily, we have sinned.


Part3 – Soloist and echoing choir or congregation
Chatanu (Chatanu) – We have sinned (We have sinned)

Avinu (Avinu) – We have acted perversely (We have acted perversely)

Pashanu (Pashanu) – We have transgressed (We have transgressed)

Eloheinu Tavo (Sigmund Schlesinger b. 1835): Brief commentary

When one performs this work, it is just so lovely and charming it reminds you of a Mendelssohn aria, or perhaps some Carl maria von Weber. It disarming and endearing. While it has operatic aspirations, it nevertheless never becomes operatic in the sense of melodrama. Grace notes, turns and appoggiaturas and one powerful operatic cadence, give way to a very serious ending: the music might be transporting us to the land of poetry and idealised piety, but in the end, we are here on serious business with the Almighty. Yom Kippur is the Say of Atonement for all one’s sins. It is a long day in the synagogue. It is as if the music starts to enjoy the supplications, using some very Romantic gestures (interval drops and two-note slurs, associated with supplication in the classical tradition), and suddenly looking up remembering where it was: in front of the Ark which contains the Torah Scrolls.

Educated in Munich before settling in Mobile, Alabama (USA) in 1863, Sigmund Schlesinger served as choir-master and organist for over 40 years, and died a much revered and loved man. He composed music which deliberately avoids all Oriental or medieval Jewish characteristics from the Synagogue Song, such as the modal chants.

Writes Idelsohn: ” He is the German Protestant style plus operatic flavour. He also adapted tunes from the Italian Opera, the sources of which he sometimes mentions. Whenever he wishes a minor setting, he turns to the eighteenth-century Italian Opera or Church music. His melody is German, vigorous…. at times sentimental – Italian” [Idelsohn, A.Z., “Jewish Music in Its Historical Development”, Schocken Books, New York, 1956, first published 1929, P.325]

Please read more about the Composer at the excellent site of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music

Soprano Beverley Chiat

Soprano Bever

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