The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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Operatic singer and ḥazzan; died at Kingston, Jamaica, about 1800; uncle of John Braham; both he and his nephew were choristers at the same time at the Great Synagogue, London. Lyon was also a public singer; and his voice was said to have surpassed that of his nephew in sweetness and melody. His first appearance was at Covent Garden (1775) in "Artaxerxes." He subsequently joined Giordani in the management of an English opera-house in Dublin, and was also engaged by Palmer for the Royalty Theatre. He finally became ḥazzan in the English and German Synagogue, Kingston, Jamaica, being the first qualified ḥazzan in the English colonies.

Lyon composed many morceaux for both theater and synagogue, particularly for the "Musaf" of Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur.

  • Jew. Chron. Dec. 26, 1873;
  • Humphreys, Memoirs of De Castro, London, 1824;
  • Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History;
  • Thespian Dict.
J. G. L.

The name "Leoni" is given to the melody associated in English hymnals with the verses commencing "The God of Abraham praise." These were composed by Thomas Olivers, a Wesleyan minister London, on a Friday evening in 1770, and was deeply (1725-99). He had attended the Great Synagogue, moved by the service, carrying away a keen impression of the singing of Myer Lyon (Leoni) in the closing hymn Yigdal. Lyon afterward gave him the melody, and Olivers called it by his name. The hymn was an immediate success. Eight editions were called for in two years, and the thirtieth edition was reached in 1779.

The melody thus furnished was the tune then (and still) used by the English Jews for the concluding hymn in the Sabbath eve service. The characteristic and effective tune, of no great age, is also utilized among Continental Jews on the festivals. A tune by the late Sir John Stainer is now more often sung with Olivers' verses in the Church of England service.

  • A. Bär, Ba'al Tefillah, No. 760, Göteborg, 1877, and Frankfort, 1883;
  • Cohen and Davis, Voice of Prayer and Praise, No. 28, London, 1899;
  • Hymns, Ancient and Modern, No. 601, 1st tune, ib. 1875;
  • Jew. Chron. Dec. 26, 1873;
  • J. Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, p. 1150, ib. 1892;
  • Montgomery, Christian Psalmody, p. 28, ib. 1828.
J. F. L. C.
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