The Man Who Spoke to God

By Jerry Glantz
ISBN 978-0-615-19665-7


Books on cantors have always been rare so we are more than happy to pay attention to this interesting new release which is a luxurious edition on the life and artistry of Leib Glantz (1898-1964). Leib Glantz is a legendary name amongst collectors of cantorial records but he should also be known to those who love the tenor voice and/or have an interest in music stemming from the synagogue tout court.  The 560 (!) page book contains the writings and lectures of Leib Glantz on cantorial music as well as 53 essays by important musicians ranging from his colleague cantors to composers. The book also contains important historical documents, photos and appendices including a complete list of Glantz’s compositions, recordings and published books. Moreover the book is accompanied by two compact discs of Leib Glantz singing 30 of his own compositions. And here the first small criticism applies as a few of the recordings –luckily not the majority- are not pitch correct, in fact they’re too sharp and I wonder how this could have passed the editing process. Another points of criticism applies to Glantz’s career and again I wonder how this could have passed unnoticed?  As mentioned twice in the book Glantz sang the leading part in Josef Tal’s concert-opera Saul at Ein Dor in 1958 yet the composer himself devotes two interesting and revealing pages to the event (and Glanz!) in his autobiography. There are also a few typos such as Rudolf Shock for Schock, Vitorio Weinberg for Vittorio, Benjamino Gigli for Beniamino etc. Also on page 17 the book mentions a certain Professor Aspinol as the teacher of both Caruso and Gigli while all books on these famous opera stars mention other teachers. In fact it’s a name I never heard of. But these are but small remarks in an otherwise very fine book.
The book is available through the above mentioned website and is price-wise indeed a real bargain.

Rudi v.d. Bulck, Operanostalgia