18 November, 2009

Return us to you, o Music!

Filed under: Music by Joel @ 12:09 am, 18 November 2009.

This year, I have taken up a new hobby of writing music, among other things. This practice did not start out-of-the-blue this year; the first significant piece I arranged was a medley of Carlebach tunes (Hashiveinu Hashem, Uva’u ha’ovdim, Ki mitzion), contrasted with more traditional European synagogue music.

I wrote it as a 4-minute four-part choral piece while studying in Montreal, and always intended it for a medium-to-large community choir, like the Sydney Jewish Choral Society. Although I offered it to McGill’s New Earth Voices at the time, I then had little understanding of arrangement in terms of harmony and progression, and so the piece was littered with all sorts of musical “errors”.

I showed or played the score for a few people, but essentially it was shelved, aided by the fact that I lost the latest version I had worked on in Montreal. As of last last week, I’ve now gone through and brought the piece back to life, adding interesting texture, and removing problematic dissonance.

You’ll find Hashiveinu with Reb Shlomo among a growing collection of music I’ve recently composed and arranged on my new Music Page (all of which — so far — is Creative Commons-licensed for free reproduction, performance and modification).

I hope you enjoy them and would love to hear feedback!


  1. Joel, just listened to your voice as you sang the psalms. Keep singing!

    Why did the blog stop in November last year?


    Comment by Ray — 21 March, 2010 @ 10:12 am

  2. Perhaps because I have been too busy singing. More likely because I’ve been too busy doing other things. As they used to say:
    הימים חולפים, שנה עוברת, אבל המנגינה תמיד נשארת.

    Comment by Joel — 21 March, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  3. Hey Joel, I was just wondering if you have any new music we could listen to? Are you still singing?

    Comment by Trevor — 29 October, 2011 @ 4:22 am

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