ALMAN, SAMUEL


ALMAN, SAMUEL
ALMAN, SAMUEL (1877–1947), composer of synagogue and secular music. Alman was born in Sobolevka, Podolia. From 1895 until 1903 he studied at the Odessa and Kishinev conservatories. While at Kishinev, he was strongly influenced by the cantor razumni . After the kishinev pogrom (1903) Alman went to London where he attended the Royal College of Music, and wrote a biblical opera King Ahaz (performed in 1912). He served as choirmaster of various London synagogues (notably at Humpstead) and Jewish choral groups. Alman's style was deeply rooted in the Southern Russian cantorial tradition, and he owed much to the choral technique of the meshorerim ("choristers"), as heard in the compositions of N. Spivak. He solved the problem of modern harmonization by following (especially in his instrumental works) the impressionistic style of Debussy. Alman succeeded in preserving the melodic features and deep sentiments of the Eastern European Ashkenazi chant, often creating a mystical atmosphere. Among his published works are Shirei Beit ha-Knesset, 2 vols. (1925, 1938), for cantor and choir; Psalm 15 (1915) for chorus and organ, and Psalm 133 (1934) for chorus and piano; "Mi addir" and "Sheva berakhot" (1930) for cantor and organ; Ethics of the Fathers   (1928); many arrangements of Yiddish folk songs; and compositions for strings including the quartet suite Ebraica (1932). In addition, he edited Shirei Rozumni (1930) and the supplement to F.L. Cohen's Voice of Prayer and Praise (1933). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Holde, Jews in Music (1959), 25; Ephros, Cant, 4 (19592), 126–8, 180–1,224; Sendrey, Music, 185, index. (Hanoch Avenary)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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