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BLUMENTHAL, NISSEN:

Russian ḥazan; born in Jassy, Rumania, 1805; died in Odessa Feb. 9, 1902. Though educated for the rabbinate, his excellent voice and musical ability fitted him for a ḥazan. He emigrated to Russia, became cantor of Berdychev and also of Yekaterinoslav, and in 1841 was made chief cantor of the Brody congregation of Odessa, which position he held for fifty-five years, when old age forced him to retire. His son Leonhard, a singer in the Kharkov operahouse, died before him. Blumenthal was confined to his home by paralysis for the last six years of his life. His fortune was left to the choir of the temple which he made famous. He was the model "chorḥazan" of Russia, and did much to introduce systematic singing and the use of musical notes in Russian synagogues. P. Minkovsky declares his compositions more characteristically Jewish than those of the great cantors of Western countries.

Bibliography:
  • Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1891, No. 24, and 1902, No. 14;
  • P. Minkovsky, in Ha-Shiloaḥ, viii., Nos. 4 and 5;
  • Ha-Meliẓ, xl., No. 39;
  • Ha-Ẓefirah, xxix., No. 50;
  • Der Jud, Supplement, Nos. 13 and 14, Cracow, 1902.
H. R. P. Wi.
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