Herman Berlinski
1910 - 2001
Picture Picture
H. Berlinski
Herman Berlinski (18/08/1910 - 27/09/2001), an Jewish-American composer. The Jewish creative orientation of composer and organist Berlinski represents a fertile synthesis. His Jewish roots and family traditions were fundamentally eastern European, but he also acquired and adopted the cultural perspectives—and especially musical affinities—of German Jewry; his Paris studies added 20thcentury French as well as international influences; and eventually he emerged as a thoroughly American composer and an ardent advocate of artistic innovations in the American Synagogue.
Herman Berlinski (1910-2001), born in Leipzig to Polish immigrants, studied at the Leipzig Conservatoire and wrote political cabaret songs (all later destroyed) for the Weimar Republic. His story is of an attempt to rediscover his Jewishness, which he rejected in early life, and of a three month journey from Warsaw to Paris, after leaving Germany in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. His long life ended in Washington DC, after serving the city's Hebrew community for many years as a minister of music.
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Hebraic texts
Among Berlinski's many other important works are the following: Litany of Solomon ben Aaron, a tribute to Jewish martyrdom; Yizkor, a memorial service; Sh'virat hakkelim, which quotes from Russian synagogue music; The Death of Rachel; and a Psalm of Unity. Especially notable among his other organ sinfonias are two that are also scored for voices: David and Goliath and The Glassbead Game.