Cantor Raphael Cohen
He comes especially to liven up your hidden holidays and your theme evenings after more than twenty years of career, Raphael Cohen remains a real passionate of the hazanout, and contributed thanks to his long experience, the discovery and the formation of many talents .
He is the founder and president of APAC (Association for the Promotion of Cantorial Art), through which he has largely contributed to the popularization of Jewish liturgical chant (‘hazanout’), thanks to numerous concerts in Europe, USA and Israel.
APAC is also part of the Cité and has set itself the defense of causes of general interest, the fight against all forms of intolerance: music and voice being unifying elements of all sensitivities .
In 2007 he founded in partnership with the Consistory of Paris (Ile de France), the Jewish Choir of France CJF.
‘Hazanout’ is the vocal art developed in Eastern Europe by ‘Hazanim (cantors), traditionally responsible for leading religious services. At the peak of his perfection, this art expressed what was most noble and most sublime in the Jewish soul. The Hazan thus embodies one of the oldest functions of the synagogue. If at the beginning he was the guardian of the sacred texts of the Hebrew liturgy, already in the Middle Ages he becomes the musical interpreter. He enjoyed a status of esteem, yet he was subject to demands that exposed him to a constant tension stemming from his dual role as an ethical representative of the community and an ethical artist.
The vocal ornament emphasized the meaning and expressiveness of the liturgical texts as “Kavanah” (mystic concentration) musical. The emancipation of European Judaism, which allowed the construction of monumental temples in the 19th century, led to a change in the style and techniques of synagogical music. The traditional melodies were recorded in writing and now interpreted according to the scholarly tastes of European music by a professional cantor accompanied by a choir.
A new style, often associated with Hasidic accents and Klezmer melodies, was given by Salomon Sulizer (1804-1890) Prime Minister-Vienna, whose music was greatly appreciated by F. Liszt. The end of the 19th century – until the Second World War – marks the golden age of Hazanout. Cantorial music, taking full advantage of the diffusion of phonographs, exerted an immense influence on the crowds. It engendered a host of eminent hazanim, including Yosselle Rosenblatt (1882-1933), acclaimed as the greatest cantor of all time. Almost stifled by the flames of Nazi hatred, the voice of ‘Hazanout flourished throughout the world and especially in Israel.
Watch some videos of Cantor Raphaël Cohen: