Published by
WQXR Features

Music for the Jewish High Holidays

Email a Friend

As Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are upon us, it's time to consider some of the great music associated with the Jewish holidays. Music for the High Holidays features both traditional and composed music from Jewish services — including a recording of Kol Nidre featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman — as well as concert music based on High Holidays melodies. 

Written and hosted by Naomi Lewin, the show also explains a bit about the Jewish new year and its traditions. That includes food, as the below recipe reveals:

Naomi Lewin's Apple Schalet Recipe

For the crust:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter or non-dairy margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cognac (optional)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (more or less)

For the filling:
3 pounds apples, peeled and sliced
About 2 tablespoons lemon juice
About 6 tablespoons sugar
Cinnamon, to taste
About 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
About 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (also optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
2. Cream butter and sugar until blended and smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla and salt and blend well. Mix in flour gradually, using just enough to form a soft dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
3. Press half the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a round 2-quart glass bowl.
4. Roll enough of the remaining half of the dough to form a circle about an inch larger than the top of the bowl. Set it aside. (The remainder of the dough will be used in the filling.)
5. Add about 1/3 of the sliced apples to the dough-lined bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, raisins (if using), almonds and little bits of leftover dough. Repeat the layers twice.
6. Cover the schalet with the rolled-out circle of dough and seal well. Cut a few slits in the top, and brush with egg white.
7. Bake until golden, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. (Start watching after 40 minutes, and when the top is golden, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent burning.) The schalet is done when the sides and bottom are golden brown and the apples are soft. (Test by inserting a cake tester into the slits.) Serve at room temperature.


Jonathan Miller: Shehecheyanu
Chicago A Cappella, conducted by Jonathan Miller
Jacob Weinberg: String Quartet, Opus 55

Bingham String Quartet
Max Janowski: Avinu Malkeinu
University of Utah Singers, conducted by Brady Allred
Ernest Bloch (arr. Christopher Palmer): From Jewish Life: Prayer
Natalie Clein, cello; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov
Ernest Bloch: Yih’yu l’ratzon (May the Words of My Mouth)
Rinat Choir, conducted by Gary Bertini
Darius Milhaud: Etudes on Liturgical Themes from Comtat Venaissin
Juilliard String Quartet

Salamone Rossi: Barechu et Adonai ham’vorach and Adon Olam (plus instrumentals)
Boston Camerata, conducted by Joel Cohen
Traditional, arr. Hankus Netsky: Kol Nidre
Itzhak Perlman, violin; Cantor Yitzhak Meir Helfgot;
Hankus Netsky, piano; Pete Rushefsky, tsimbi

John Zorn: Kol Nidre
Ilya Kaler and Perrin Young, violin; George Taylor, viola; Steven Doane, cello
Traditional: Ashamnu
Cantor Benzion Miller; Schola Hebraica, conducted by Neil Levin
Ben Steinberg: Shalom Rav
Cantor Ida Rae Cahana; students from the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music, conducted by Samuel Adler; Aaron Miller, organ
Traditional: Shalom Rav
Rachel Van Voorhees, harp