I am less and less interested in so-called “perfection,” that state of pristine, faultless stasis in which no blemish can be heard, felt or seen. I am far more interested in the given, fragile moment and what it can reveal.
My desire was to create a CD, or, in this case – two CDs, that would feature vocal performances that were as good as they could be the on the day they were recorded. No more and no less. The vast majority of the songs were recorded in one or two takes. There is not one song in which I corrected just a line of singing. If there were any corrections needed, I simply sang the entire song again or played a new, complete guitar track.
Some songs were recorded in a way designed to feel like an actual service on any given Shabbat: live, raw, intimate, warm and imperfect. Others were recorded in as grand a manner as was possible, while others, still, in a quiet, focused and personal mood as we could create. Only K’dusha was recorded outside the studio, in a wonderfully resonant space, using a professional choir, thanks to Michael Skloff and his generosity.
I chose carefully my musicians and singers and they rewarded me with soulful, intimate, meaningful performances that have made this entire process a joy. The volunteer choir and the junior choir sang on those songs I felt would feature them in the best light and were layered upon the professional quartet that sang through twenty-four of the twenty-seven songs in this collection.
The result is, I hope, a fluid testament to our aspirations and abilities during the intense period of recording this project in the studio. The result, I hope, bears testimony to our aspirations and efforts during services. This recording is what we have in mind while singing our liturgy with joy, heartbreak, uplift and excitement.
Heaven on Earth presents the music we sing at TIOH on Shabbat evenings and mornings. It is a collection of sacred songs, music written or used specifically for prayer services in the Synagogue. It is our music - it gives our congregation much of its spiritual identity.
We created this collection as a gift to our congregants, as a testament and record of our weekly worship, and as a legacy for future generations.
We wish for all who listen to this collection, Jews and people of all faiths, to know that music is at the core of our worship; that we take seriously the injunction in the Book of Psalms to worship God with joy and approach God with song. We pray the meditations of our hearts and the utterances of our voices will be acceptable.
I hope this collection reflects and honors our tradition, our prayers and our community and brings the listener a measure of the beauty and holiness accessible during the hour of prayer.