Schorr, Baruch

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SCHORR, BARUCH (1823–1904), cantor and composer. Schorr was born in Lemberg to a ḥasidic family; his musical abilities were recognized early and he served as a meshorer ("singer") with well-known cantors. He officiated in various small communities before becoming cantor in Lemberg in 1859. A pious Jew, he was at the same time interested in European culture and musical techniques. He applied these techniques in his compositions, which, however, are firmly based on traditional motifs (especially in the ahavah rabbah *shtayger). Thus his compositions are noteworthy for their ease of rendition and depth of feeling. Schorr composed an opera, Samson, which was performed in 1890 in Lemberg's Jewish theater. After the performance he was led onto the stage by the prima donna, in order to receive the audience's ovation. This behavior was considered unseemly by the synagogue authorities, who suspended Schorr from office for four Sabbaths. Offended, he left for the U.S., where he stayed for five years until a delegation was sent from Lemberg to recall him to his post. He remained there until his death, which occurred while he was officiating on the last day of Passover. Schorr also wrote commentaries on the Pentateuch and Ecclesiastes. All six of his sons became cantors, and one of them, Israel, published his father's compositions in Neginot Baruch Schorr (1906). Many of these melodies are actually the work of the younger Schorr, who also rearranged some of his father's harmonies. Another relative named israel schorr (1886–1935) was also a celebrated cantor in Europe and the U.S. He was the composer of She-Yibbaneh Beit ha-Mikdash, one of the best-loved cantorial compositions of modern times.


S. Perlmutter, in: Jewish Ministers Cantors' Association of America, Die Geshikhte fun Khazones (1924), 89–91; Idelsohn, Music, 286, 290, 309–10; J. Grob, in: Monatsschrift der juedischen Kantoren (April–May, 1930), 4–5: H.H. Harris, Toledot ha-Neginah ve-ha-ḥazzanut be-Yisrael (1950), 416–8.

[David M.L. Olivestone]

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Schorr, Baruch

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