The slogan "the best things in life are free" also, it turns out, applies to great Jewish music. Well, Jewish music is one of the best things in life, so we should have known that.
From August 7-September 4, 2013--aka the Jewish month of Elul--the Milken Archive of Jewish Music is offering a free music download every week in celebration of the upcoming High Holidays. The Archive is calling these selections "Musical Gems."
For many years, the Milken Archive has been collecting and publishing Jewish American music written over 350 years by professional composers--more than 200 of them--and performed by great orchestras and choruses. To date, the Archive has amassed 700 recorded works, including over 500 world-premiere recordings, many of which are on a 50-CD series released on the Naxos label. The composers have put original melodies to everything from Jewish liturgy to Torah verses to Yiddish folktales. They also have video of many of these recordings and related interviews, as well as photographs and documents.
Now, the Milken Archive offering free weekly downloads selected from their vast vaults. Each Thursday morning, starting August 8th, subscribers will receive an email with the free, limited-time "Gem" download link. The only way to get all of the Musical Gems from the Milken Archive is to enter your email address here. Subscribers will receive links to future downloads via email as they become available on Thursdays.
Now, ordinarily, you can't get the previous week's download. But I did not know about this service to tell you in time to get the first two. So the Milken people have been kind enough to provide this link to the first (August 8) download: "Ye Shall Be Holy" and "Shout Unto the Lord," tracks from Dave Brubeck's The Gates of Justice. And also the second one, Gershon Kingsley's "Lecha Dodi," is here. I am not allowed to tell you about the content of upcoming tracks, but the theme for this year's selection is "welcoming."
Milken's partner in this effort is no less a stalwart of Jewish music than Craig Taubman. For nine years, Taubman has been offering "Jewels of Elul" in booklet form and now online. Jewels of Elul is a themed collection of short essays from artists, community leaders, rabbis and politicians--let's just say you'll know their names--also on this year's "welcoming" theme. Subscribers to Jewels of Elul will receive a new Jewel each of the 29 days of the month. (There is also an accompanying CD of High-Holiday music from Taubman and his fellow contemporary Jewish artists).
For more information and to receive your daily Jewel from Craig 'n Co. (Taubman's production company), visit the Jewels of Elul website.