Music scholar John Campana on “The Patty Chan Kol Nidre” for erhu, accompanied by viola da gamba: “The solemnity achieved by the voice of the erhu, envelopes and captivates the listener with its tones of pathos, richness of texture and underlying joy, trusting that God will hear humanity’s plea. The sporadic appearance of microtonal play, harks back to the earliest roots of the original song, as well as enhancing its emotional content.The erhu proves itself to be a most worthy member of the universal expression of Kol Nidre.”

John Campana is a music scholar and master sitar teacher, performer and historian, who was asked to comment, if he wished, on “Redemption.” I am grateful for his taking the time to respond: “The way in that Kol Nidrei (All Vows) can be expressed and experienced on different instruments of different cultures, attests to the fact that its sentiments are universal and not only relegated the Jewish people who sing it during the evening service of Yum Kippur. the Day of Atonement. Indeed, Kol Nidre was written originally, not in Hebrew, but in Aramaic. The song is fraught with contrition, pleas for mercy, pardon for iniquities and the making of new vows. Out of the 3 instruments used thus far in the Kol Nidre Project, (surbahar, Spanish guitar and now erhu), the erhu, by virtue of being bowed, comes closest to the human voice, the original form of expression by cantor and chorus. In the present version, it is the viola da gamba that assumes the function of the chorus. In the 1850s composition by the Christian composer Bruck, it was the viola that was used as the voice of the cantor, now represented by the erhu. This series presents only the instrumental version of Kol Nidre. The words, as evoked by pure instrumental music, attain new heights of meaning, expression and revelation of feelings and emotions. The solemnity achieved by the voice of the erhu, envelopes and captivates the listener with its tones of pathos, richness of texture and underlying joy, trusting that God will hear humanity’s plea. The sporadic appearance of microtonal play, harks back to the earliest roots of the original song, as well as enhancing its emotional content. The erhu proves itself to be a most worthy member of the universal expression of Kol Nidre.”

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