.וַאֲכַלְתֶּם יָשָׁן נוֹשָׁן וְיָשַׁן מִפָּנַי חָדָשׁ תּוֹצִיאוּ
You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make room for the new. (Leviticus 26:10).
We are excited to present Shir Hadash: New Music at Park Avenue Synagogue, published by the Park Avenue Synagogue Music Center.
In the last few years I have been privileged to continue our synagogue's long tradition of commissioning new liturgical music. I have had the honor and the pleasure of collaborating with some of the finest Jewish composers of our time, thinking creatively about our worship experience and the music which stands in its core. With each commission, I have guided the composer through the structure of the service, and for each prayer, we have reviewed the Hebrew texts and their correct pronunciations, and the meaning of the prayer as well as the nusach, the traditional musical motives in which the prayer has been chanted. At the same time, I invited each composer to develop his or her own interpretation, making the tradition relevant for our time. The selections of liturgical settings on this album are varied in style and rich in spiritual expressions. I thank all of the composers for their creativity and dedication.
All of the pieces on this album were targeted to our membership, designed for our services and premiered in our sanctuary. You could think of our synagogue as a laboratory of Jewish music, where different tunes and ideas are being invented and tested. I thank you all for encouraging this spirit of experimentation and for participating in the creation of new liturgical music! As we continue to shape the music of our congregation, I invite you to join us for services, concerts and music programs and become part of our singing community.
The verse from Leviticus above is about abundance of grain, but it could well apply to the musical riches of Park Avenue Synagogue. We are blessed to enjoy the music of our past at the same time as we embrace new melodies and rhythms to express our prayers.
I thank Rabbi Cosgrove, Arthur Penn, Steve Friedman and the leadership of the synagogue for making this recording possible, Gil Smuskowitz, Colin Fowler, Ben Ellerin and my other colleagues at PAS for their tireless work, and especially my wife Noa for her love and support.
Park Avenue Synagogue's albums are also available on: