The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

R. Shlomo or Not R. Shlomo...That Is The Question

Yesterday I posted a review of Eitan Katz's new CD, "Unplugged". The CD purports to be a compilation of ten Shlomo Carlebach niggunim that are not well known by the general public, or, in the case of a number of tunes, never before recorded by anyone.

In response to my post, a commentor, Yitz, cast doubt on the origins of one of the songs, Ma Tovu. Based on a conversation that he had with Itzik Aisenstadt, an old friend of R. Shlomo and an expert on his music, Yitz said that the song was composed by Tanchum Portnoy.

I happened to be seeing Shlomo Katz at a wedding last night and asked him what he thought. (Shlomo was the source of most of the songs performed by his brother Eitan). He was very intrigued. He promised to go back to his source materials (he has countless cassettes of unpublished Shlomo music) and try to figure out the scoop.

If anyone can ask Mr. Portnoy himself, that would obviously be helpful.



  • At 6:31 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    I'm glad to see that my comment inspired another post, MO! I'm still commenting at the original post, Ayein Sham [look there].
    However, a point needs to be made. Reb Shlomo composed tons of niggunim, his own. BUT he also sang those of others, especially the Modzitzer Rebbes, and other Chassidic tunes [Chabad, Bobov, etc.] He also recorded songs of others, such as those of Portnoy and Eliahu Hartman. And he sang "Afro" spirituals.
    Many people seem to think that WHATEVER he sang, he composed. For the record, that is NOT true, even if holds for 90-odd % of the time. This is the case with "Ma Tovu." A similar mistake was made on the second "Shlomo b'Ahava" recording, in which Moshe Shur's "Galei Kvod Malchutcha" tune [track #11] was credited to Reb Shlomo, just because he was recorded singing it!

  • At 9:51 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    Reb Shlomo indeed recorded an entire album of songs composed by Eliyahu Hartman (as did Chaim Dovid recently).

    You are, of course, correct. I look forward to hearing about your conversation with R. Aisenstadt. In the meantime, Shlomo Katz will go back to the recording in which he first heard Ma Tovu and see what that reveals.

  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous kevin said…

    Mostly off topic:

    Do you have any info about a new Album from Aaron Razel? I read a snippet on a Hebrew site called "Hindik" (which I hadn't heard of before) saying the new disk will be out lag ba'omer time, but don't see any other info anywhere else online.

    Does the all-knowing MoC (or any of his readers) have the scoop?


  • At 10:29 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I know that Aron completed the recording and mixing and was working on the CD jacket last time we talked about it. He is is Lenningrad (or whatever they call it these days) and will be back next week. I'm sure the CD will be released any day.

  • At 12:11 PM, Anonymous kevin said…

    Thanks MoC! Can't wait to hear it. Any suggestions on the best way to buy it (I live in Silver Spring)?

    Have you heard the new disk from Asaph Neve Shalom reviewed in the jpost a couple wks ago? It looks like it has some good non-shiny-shoe potential.

  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    haven't heard it. I will look into it. Thanks

  • At 10:42 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    Okay, this took a while, but here's the scoop. From my converstation a few minutes ago with Itzik Aisenstadt: Reb Shlomo used to sing this tune at NCSY gatherings in the late 1950s and early 60s. It is apparently an old "chazzanut" piece, NOT Portnoy [before his time] BUT definitely NOT Reb Shlomo's. Hope this clarifies matters; BTW, Itzik told me that Shlomo Katz also asked him about it, apparently because of this blog!


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