Most of the religious Jewish music in the Maftirim repertoire has strong connections to Ottoman court (classical) music. Many of the hymns sung in Turkey's synagogues are precise replications of Ottoman vocal and instrumental genres such as pesrev, sarki, and beste, but with liturgical text written by different poets from the 16th century and onwards. This sacred Maftirim music utilizes many of the same aesthetics in the Ottoman makam system. The Maftirim repertoire is derived from Mevlevi dervish music, which is also divided into different makams.
It is sung by men every Saturday during several months on the Jewish calendar year after the prayer ritual of the Sabbath. Every week has a different makam, and the cantor leads the Maftirim in singing. The first composer known in that genre, in the 16th century, was Rabbi Shlomo Ben Mazaltov. Other important composers and poets include Al Harizi, Shlomo Ben Maymon, Israel Nadjara (with his essential book Shirey Yisrael beErets Hakedem), Eliya Gayus, and Yosef Ganso. This tradition, which developed in Edirne, appeared later in Istanbul, Bursa, and Izmir.
Nowadays there are several amateur Maftirim groups that participate in different events and occasions. Istanbul's Culture Department traditionally hosts concerts called Birlikte Yasamak (Turkish: To live together) devoted to minorities in Turkey, where choirs of Turkish, Jewish, Greek, and Armenian origin introduce their traditions. The choirs also collaborate on popular Turkish classical songs. Among the Maftirim groups are the group of Hazzan Aaron Kohen Yasak, the group of David Sevi, and the group of Yaakov Taragano. All of them are Jewish and are familiar with this music from their participating in the ceremonies in the synagogues.
The Maftirim group of Yaakov Taragano also collaborated with Turkish musicians, all graduated from the conservatoire of Istanbul Technical University, known for its traditional Turkish music education. The Maftirim group of Aharon Hakohen collaborated with Turkish players and arrangers, and performed under the roof of Kalan Müzik, the CD company who supported the project and gave unlimited financial means to enable it to be as professional as can be. Their album is the only album in print of Maftirim repertoire nowadays. Despite its importance, it was criticized by the Sephardic Turkish community for not being loyal to their synagogue heritage (since it is forbidden to sing those hymns with accompaniment in the synagogue, and traditionally it was sung only vocally). * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Read more on Last.fm.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more