David Nowakowsky, ‘Elohenu. Vetaher libeinu’ (Our God. Purify our hearts)

Dawid Nowakowsky (1848–1921) studied at the Berdychiv Conservatory, and later became Professor of Theory at the People’s Conservatory of Odessa. Such expertise is evident in the subtle handling of choral textures and tender harmonic language of Elohenu. Vetaher libeinu (Our God. Purify our hearts), hallmarks of Nowakowsky’s style refined over his remarkable 50-year tenure as choirmaster at Odessa’s Brody Synagogue.

Whilst it does not display the contrapuntal exhuberance (and considerable facility) seen in many of his works, this interpretation of the ‘Holiness of the day’ section of the Amidah (‘Standing Prayer’) for Mincha (afternoon service) of Shabbat features gentle interplay between the Cantor and choir, who are integrated into the texture far more thoroughly than is often heard in Cantorial compositions of the time.

Nowakowsky, Elohenu edition (March 2017)