Smithsonian Collections

Music of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue sound recording / recorded, edited and annotated by John Levy ; with members of the Synagogue

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Data Source
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
Program notes with Hebrew texts and English psalm texts in booklet (8 p. : ill.) inserted in container.
The Jews of Spain were given a stark choice in the year 1492: convert to Catholicism or go into exile. The Jews of Portugal were given the same choice five years later. Initially, most of those who went into exile scattered to various Mediterranean countries; however, over the next several centuries, some of the exiles, supplemented by later exiles from Spain, dispersed into many additional lands, including England. The recording presents traditional liturgical music of the Bevis Marks Synagogue - the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue - of London, England. Most of the chants and singing are taken from Sabbath services, while the final tracks are from services in celebration of the Jewish New year (Rosh Hashanah). Emphasizing authenticity, the male chorus here eschews the relatively modern practice of adding harmonies, singing here in unison. Occasionally, the Cantor (lead solo singer) is heard. Liner notes present both a history of the Jews originally in Spain, the origin and development of Jewish liturgical music, and the track lyrics in English and Hebrew.
Explanatory notes chiefly excerpted from A.M. Hyamson's "admiarble" book, The Sephardim of England (London : Methuen, 1951).
"Recorded, edited and annotated by John Levy, with the help of members of the Synagogue." -- text from notes.
Performed by the Choir of the Lauderdale Road Synagogue, Maida Vale, London, with choirmaster Rev. Eliezer Abinun.
Recorded at the Bevis Marks Synagogue in London, England.
Related materials may be found in the Moses and Frances Asch Collection, also held by this repository. Related materials may include correspondence between the studio, producers, and/or performers; original cover art designs; original production materials; business records; and audiotapes from studio production.
Track information
101. Psalm 29 Mizmor Ledavid
102. Lekha Dodi (Come, My Beloved, to Meet the Bride)
103. Psalm 92 Mizmor Shir
104. Psalm 93 Adonai Malkh
105. Yigdal
106. Psalm 136
107. Barukh Sme'amar (Blessed Be He who Spake, and the World Came into Being )
108. Song of Moses, Exodus XV
109. Nishmat kol hai (The breath of all living shall bless thyname, O Lord )
110. Bemaqhelot Blessed Be He Who Spake, and the World Came into Being)
111. Qedushah
201. Psalm 29
202. En Kelohenu
203. Adon 'Olam (Lord Over All)
204. Uba Letzion Goel (And the Redeemer Shall Come unto Zion)
205. Psalm 144
206. Psalm 81 lamnatzeah 'al hagitith
207. Kaddish
208. Hashkivenu Avinu Leshalom
209. 'Et Sh'are Ratzon (At the Time that the Gates of Favour are About to be Opened)
Publisher number
FR 8961 Folkways Records
Repository Loc.
Smithsonian Institution, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, 600 Maryland Ave., S.W., Suite 2001, Washington, D.C. 20024. Call 202-633-7322 for appointment. Fax: 202-633-7019. Email:
Levy, John 1910-1976
Physical description
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Phonograph records
Day of Atonement services
Rosh ha-Shanah services
Sabbath services
See more items in
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Local number
Folkways 8961
Synagogue music
Sacred music
World music
London (England)
Restrictions & Rights
Restrictions on access