« Review: New Klezmer Fiddle book by Ilana Cravitz | Main | Two for Chanukah »

Bel Canto - were these recordings =really= the nusakh from temple days?

Andy Tannenbaum, just back from travels to Italy, himself spotted this fascinating audio interview on Nextbook:

Bel Canto: Composer Yotam Haber finds inspiration in a dusty Roman archive; Interview by Sara Ivry

"Thirty years before the common era—a century before the destruction of the Second Temple—some Jews left Jerusalem for Rome. There, they established a community whose cantors chanted Torah in the tradition they brought with them from the land of ancient Israel. It was an insular community and over subsequent generations, that insularity helped preserve the community's distinctiveness. Over the ensuing centuries, the Roman cantorial style remained relatively unchanged, impervious to the flourishes and innovations of newer traditions that arose in the Sephardic and Ashkenazic worlds."

I find that thesis extraordinarily unlikely given how thoroughly Italy's Jews mixed not only Ashkenazic and Sephardic cultures, but local music cultures as well. But that doesn't mean the music isn't great. So, read on/listen on and see what composer Yotam Haber has to say....