Not long ago, Spotify’s algorithms had the good taste to suggest a particular song to me: Srul Irving Glick’s “The Rabbi’s Wedding at the Palmerston Street Shul,” movement III of his “Old Toronto Klezmer Suite,” performed by Angele Dubeau. I had never heard it before.
But before we dive into the song itself, who was Srul Irving Glick? In a word, one of Canada’s greatest composers. Born in Toronto in 1934 to a Jewish family, Glick composed hundreds of pieces for all manner of instrumentation, from guitars to full orchestras to choirs. His music retains the traditional sound of Toronto’s Jewish community–his father was a cantor, and Glick composed a great number of liturgical works for synagogue use.
According to The Glick Society’s website, Glick began studying piano at the age of 12. By 15, he knew he wanted to be a composer (and not a concert pianist). He dedicated the rest of his life to this pursuit, and was awarded the prestigious Yuval Award by the Cantor’s Assembly of America (among other accolades) before his death in 2002. For a more complete biography, click here.
Glick first wrote the “Old Toronto Klezmer Suite” itself in 1998 for pianist Catherine Wilson and her group “Ensemble Vivant.” Of the piece, he said, “This work is based on klezmer style in a chamber music idiom. I wanted to express my deep love for the city of Toronto. I wrote this quintet for pianist Catherine Wilson and her Friends, performing the violin, viola, cello and double bass. Each movement reflects reminiscences of some aspect of my growing up in Toronto.”
“The Rabbi’s Wedding at the Palmerston Street Shul” is the fourth movement of the suite. Here it is performed by violinist Angele Dubeau and her own ensemble “La Pieta.” As for the song itself–the haunting melody first hooked my attention, but the transition to energetic Jewish dance in the second half cemented my enjoyment. What fun! Now, enjoy it for yourself:
(Can’t see the video? Click here)