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THE MAX D. KLEIN MUSIC COLLECTION
AT THE LIBRARY OF THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
arranged and described by ELIOTT KAHN, D.M.A.,
Table of Contents
Holograph score. Das ist der Tag der Ruh (This is the Day of Rest) / music: William Noelsch. Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Philadelphia, Pa., ca. 1895. (M2186.N63S901 v.2)
The music scores found within the papers of Rabbi Max D. Klein represent a sampling of the music used in an American Conservative synagogue from the late-nineteenth until the mid-twentieth century. Max D. Klein was rabbi at Philadelphia's Congregation Adath Jeshurun from 1911-1960. During this time period he was assisted by such notable cantors as Jacob Beimel (1920-1929) and W. Belskin Ginsburg (1935-1960). He also worked with organist William Noelsch, an important musical figure who played at Adath Jeshurun from 1881 until 1919.
The music collection is unique for a variety of reasons. First of all, it contains several of Beimel's and Noelsch's manuscript scores. Jacob Beimel began his career as a cantor in the Ukraine, went on to receive conservatory training in Berlin, and then — along with A.W. Binder — became one of the founders of the Jewish music movement in twentieth-century America. William Noelsch appears to have been active as a composer and church/synagogue organist in late-nineteenth century Philadelphia. Some of his Catholic and Jewish liturgical music was published during this time by Philadelphia's J.E. Ditson & Co.
Several of Noelsch's manuscripts are bound into horizontal organ books that he probably used to play for services. These contain hymns in English, Hebrew and German, ca. 1895-1915. Adath Jeshurun was early on a German émigré congregation and the German language was not officially abolished in the service until 1896. There is also a book of cantor's solos (mostly in Hebrew) in Noelsch's hand. Beimel's manuscripts include several of his arrangements — presumably unpublished — of hymns unique to Adath Jeshurun. There are also many of his settings of traditional prayers, including Zochrenu, which was published in the Jewish Reform movement's 1932 Union Hymnal.
Title page and Holograph score. En komocho / music: Aron Friedmann, Berlin, 1927. (M2187.F72E5 1927)
The published music also provides a window into the musical practices of a turn of the century American congregation. There are two editions of the Kol Nidre prayer, one in Hebrew by C.G. Verrinder (London: Novello, 1891) and one in English — Day of God — by Alois Kaiser (New York: Bloch, ca. 1893). There are solo anthems in English by Dudley Buck (Fear Not Ye, O Israel, New York: Schirmer, 1889) and Max Spicker (In Thee, O God, Do I Put My Trust, New York: Schirmer, 1899), as well as a choral arrangement by William Noelsch in English and Hebrew of F. Halevy's Min hammezar (Philadelphia: J.E. Ditson, 1895). In addition there are pieces imported from central Europe, including a Zionist song by Vienna's Obercantor Emanuel Fränkl (A heym, A heym, Wien: Josef Belf, ca. 1900) and Tempelweihe Marsch by A. Weiler, for the consecration of a synagogue (Nördlingen[?]: Th. Reischle, ca. 1900). Though unpublished, there is a also a holograph score of an En kamokha setting by Berlin's Obercantor Aron Friedmann, dedicated to Rabbi Max D. Klein in 1927.
Note: All the music scores may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Klein, Max D., or author or title)
Note: biographical information comes from the following source:
Shore, Marvin and Charlotte Viner Bernstein, editors: Dedication Book: Congregation Adath Jeshurun, 1858-1967, 6518-5727. Elkins Park, Pa.: Congregation Adath Jeshurun, 1967.