Ranenu Tzaddikim – Songs of the Chassidic Masters
Reb Shaya Tzaddikim Album Demo by Reb Shaya
The foundation of the Chassidic movement is the concept of the Tzaddik, the leader of each particular group who elevates and inspires his followers to higher spiritual levels. Chassidus is also unique in its emphasis on music as a means of serving G-d.
The cornerstone of the Chassidic movement is the Tzaddik, the leader and sage who connects his followers to Hashem and brings down His blessings into the world.
Some of these rebbes were also very talented composers of Chassidic melodies, and these songs are especially treasured for their depth and beauty. Some are familiar throughout the Jewish world, and some are known only to a limited group. This album presents a full hour of these masterpieces, in a contemporary arrangement that we hope brings out the true dynamic of these powerful, deep melodies. We hope listening to them will be an inspiring and elevating experience.
In this album, we have drawn from a number of these songs, attributed to some of the most famous tzaddikim, all the way back to the Baal Shem Tov himself, the founder of the movement. Others were created by some of the first leaders: the Mezritcher Maggid (successor to the Baal Shem Tov), his students Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg, the Koznitzer Maggid and the Baal Hatanya (the “Alter Rebbe” of Lubavitch), and his son Reb Avrohom the Malach (“the Angel”). The most recent lived during the first half of the 20th century: Reb Yisroel of Modzitz (whose musical tradition is extremely rich to this day), and Reb BenTzion of Bobov (who died in the Holocaust). Others included here include Reb Moshe of Kubrin and the celebrating Reb Yisroel of Rizhin, both from the early 19th century.
1) Azamer Bishvachin – A quiet, mystical melody by R. Avrohom (1740-1778), called “The Malach,” son of the Mezricher Maggid.
2) Adon Olam – This amazing melody, attributed to the Baal Shem Tov, has been set to many lyrics.
3) Eliyahu Hanavi – Very dramatic melody by the Koznitzer Maggid (1733-1815), the founder of Polish chassidus and a masterful composer.
4) Dror Yikrah – A popular nigun from the holy R. Yisroel of Rizhin (1797-1851), descendent of the Mezritcher Maggid and the Malach.
5) Yom Zeh L’Yisroel – The first rebbe in Germany, Reb Shmelka of Nikolsburg (1706-1778) was a prodigious composer from whom very few niggunim have survived.
6) Kel Adon – Reb Bentzion of Bobov (1874-1941), killed in the Holocaust, was also an impressive composer.
7) Yetzaveh – This deep niggun is attributed to the Maggid of Mezritch (1704-1773), successor of the Baal Shem Tov.
8) Yismach Moshe- A lively niggun by Reb Yisroel of Modzitz (1849-1920), the chassidus which is synonymous with great music.
9) Koh Echsof – A beautiful but little known melody from R. Moshe of Kubrin (1790?-1858), from whom several niggunim have survived.
10) Bnei Heicholo- One of the famous ten niggunim of the Baal Hatanya of Lubavitch (1745-1813), but not as well known, since it is sung at Shalosh Seudos, which has been replaced by learning for most Chabad chassidim.
“Took the time to listen to all the music. Simply beautiful. Koh Echcof is especially lovely. The very best to you in 2012 and I’ll be back to listen again.” – C.S. Holt of C.S. Holt Blues Revival
“Koh Echsof is absolutely beautiful. I wish I understood the language, but it is very melodic.” – Dave McIsaac, Country musician
“Reb, I find the sound very inspirational. I know very little about Hebrew music, outside of the realm of worship, but I like the directions.” – Geoff Thurman – Musician
“As stated, music has no borders!! Your music is very spiritual and soul searching….from rejoicing to feeling the pain of others. I especially liked Koh Echsof – R’ Moshe Kubrin”
- Joe Hrasna, Artist – Reverbnation
“This piece was absolutely lovely. I found myself listening to all seven minutes of it. Beautiful vocals to accompany the wonderful accompaniment of instruments. I can’t comment much on the lyrics since I am completely clueless on the language used by the vocalists but I can definitely say the language is beautiful in itself and works perfectly in this context. The melody remains very clear and simple and relaxing to listen to yet, the musical work feels to hold much more than that, I believe it is through the performance of the vocalist who seems to convey a very powerful emotion through his singing. I really enjoyed it as I am sure many others would.”
- Soundout Review (Feb 28, 2012)
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It has always been my goal to develop a style of performance that brings out, to some degree, the depth and power of these melodies. Virtually all the recordings I’ve heard seem to compromise on the drama and depth of emotion these songs evoke; I suspect it has something to do with how deeply the arrangers are involved with the music, or how hard they’re trying to fit it into contemporary styles. No contemporary style seems to do them justice. I have certainly not attempted to imitate anyone here, and any similarity to any existing genre is unintentional.