Further Definitions of the Days of AweDavid Chevan and the Afro-Semitic Experience It was a great experience to team up once again with David Chevan and the Afro-Semitic Experience, alongside Jack Mendelson, Lisa Arbisser, and Daniel Mendelson for a great musical reflection on Selikhot.
Jake Marmer wrote about the recording in The Jewish Daily Forward:
“The centerpiece of the album is the 15 minute track ‘Sh’ma Koleinu’ (‘Listen to Our Voice’). Unmistakably, over and over again, the cantor appeals heavenward. Listening to the piece there is no doubt about it: This isn’t merely an aesthetic experience. Cantor Erik Contzius is publicly praying, leaping from falsetto to deeper tones, improvising across multiple tonalities as he stubbornly repeats his plea over and again, like a mantra, and the band rocks with him all the way through, prodding him and spinning him on the platform of their groove. It is an amazing performance, and the live recording captures the reactions of the exhilarated fans.”
Come, O Sabbath Day!Sabbath Eve Worship in the Tradition of Classical Reform Judaism from the Union Prayer Book
This recording from The Society for Classical Reform Judaism brings a combination of classics from the Reform synagogue of old to newer, more modern liturgical selections for the progressive synagogue. Featuring Rabbi Howard Berman and members of the Temple Israel of New Rochelle High Holy Day Choir with Christopher Creaghan on the organ.
Teach My Lips a Blessing: The Music of Erik Contzius
Featuring the Amor Artis Chamber Choir under the direction of Johannes Somary, and the talents of organist, Christopher Creaghan and a host of other artists, this collection of twenty original compositions for the synagogue meld modernity and traditional sounds in a choral tapestry.
Review by MacJams.com moderator, Tobin Mueller. Review by Teruah-Jewish Music blogger, Jack Zaientz. Reviews from CDBaby.com: “…what a collection of innovative melodies both traditional in style and eclectic…” “…a well balanced variety of inspirational choral and solo compositions…” “The range of texts the boldness of the interpretations and the beauty of the renditions are all helping to point the way forward for recordings of Jewish liturgical music.”
How Excellent is Thy Name: Musical devotions of the emancipated Jew
Murray Harris organ, Stanford Memorial Church
Kimberly Marshall, organ Hazzan Erik Contzius, cantor
“This recording honors the Jewish liturgical tradition of cantor with organ—and a rising star of American cantors. The historic 1901 Murray Harris organ at Stanford University is the perfect instrument for this music, which is concentrated in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries.”
Westminster Conservatory Youth Chorale
Frank Abrahams, conductor Hazzan Erik Contzius, soloist
From the leading school for choir in North America, this wonderful holiday compilation features music published in the “Westminster Youth Chorale Jewish Music Series” by Transcontinental Music Publishing.