Friday, February 08, 2019

Faith and music …

… Andy Statman: Practical Mystic | The Brooklyn Rail. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Statman’s relationship with Tarras was as much focused on his thoughts and values as on his playing. “I’d go over there, we’d have some tea, and talk maybe for an hour. Then he’d take out his clarinet and play for me. Dave would make certain body motions or look at me a certain way to emphasize things, and I’d get more out of that than anything. He would make certain hand gestures when he was playing especially poignant passages; they expressed so much emotion. When I became religious and started praying in shuls, I realized these were the identical gestures used by the cantors. Dave had come from a Chasidic family. Klezmer, in its essence—the really Jewish recordings that have the best feeling—comes out of Chasidic music. It’s just religious music played instrumentally. It was set up to fulfill a mitzvah, whether as tunes to bring you close to God or to help you rejoice with the bride and groom. That music really brought me further into Judaism very quickly.”

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