by: Magda Katz


CHERISHED MOMENTS: SONGS OF THE JEWISH SPIRIT, a new CD on Sono Luminus (DSL-92182), was released in October with Essential Voices USA, conducted by Judith Clurman with soloists Ron Raines, Bruce Ruben and Michael Slattery.


This new cd combines the expertise born of Judith Clurman’s thirty years as a prominent conductor with memories of her own childhood in synagogue and an intimate knowledge of this poignant repertoire to create the unique recording Cherished Moments: Songs of the Jewish Spirit. The recording introduces exciting arrangements of traditional songs that represent the Jewish holidays and life cycle events from the centerpiece Songs of Freedom: A Celebration of Chanukah, a cycle for chorus, soloists and orchestra that premiered at Carnegie Hall, to the 19th-century lyrical classicism of Louis Lewandowski and Emanuel Kirschner, to works by folk artist Debbie Friedman, cantor-composer Bruce Ruben, and Canadian composer Ben Steinberg. The recording also features important new works, among them a minimalist setting of Set Me as a Seal by Nico Muhly, Larry Hochman’s Shomeir Yisrael, and Paul Schoenfield’s Al Hanisim, all written for Ms. Clurman. The recording features the singers of Essential Voices USA and renowned guest instrumentalists, including composers Larry Hochman and Paul Schoenfield accompanying their own works.

As I was listening to the beautiful arrangements of these songs that I grew up with, I was thinking how wonderful to have this CD in my library and to be able to pass it down to the next generation.