In his function as head cantor of the Budapest Main Synagogue and as cantor in Strasbourg from 1964 onwards, Marcel (Márton) Lorand (1911-1988), Hungarian by birth, was one of the few cantors after World War II to preserve the tradition of synagogal music accompanied by organ. This is a type of music which before the Shoah had for more than a hundred years been characteristic of Ashkenazi worship from Paris and London to Lviv and Odessa. Most of the written evidence of this musical culture had never found its way into libraries open to the public and was lost in the course of the genocide against the Jews. It is only in North America and Israel that this tradition of liturgical singing has been kept alive to the present day.
In 1986, Augsburg University Library took advantage of the opportunity to acquire Lorand’s collection. The initiative to ensure that this outstanding collection of exceedingly rare sheet music would be handed down to posterity had been taken by Andor Izsák (* 1944), who was later to become head of the European Centre for Jewish Music in Hannover. Izsák had for some time played the organ for Lorand in Budapest and had since then been on cordial terms with him.
The Lorand Collection includes more than a hundred music prints, among them many comprehensive anthologies of 19th and 20th century synagogal music, as well as music manuscripts: five substantial volumes, some of which comprise several hundred pages, and four sets of individual compositions on a more limited scale, adding up to another 600 pages. The collection offers an excellent survey of musical liturgy as it was practiced by the Ashkenazi community during the 19th and the early 20th century. In accordance with the collector’s biography, the geographic focus lies on the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and on the francophone area.
The condition of the items, especially of the prints, is in most cases very poor (acid paper, numerous marks of frequent use). As access to the original documents can thus be granted only in exceptional cases, they were microfilmed after the library had acquired them. In 2006, the library started to digitize the collection. As for reasons of conservation the microfilms rather than the original documents were used for this purpose, the quality of the digital images varies.
The printed catalogue of the Lorand Collection contains catalogue entries for the individual items (in some cases with annotations) as well as an introduction to synagogal music:
Musik für die Synagoge. Die Sammlung Marcel Lorand der Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg. Historische Einführung und Katalog, Augsburg: Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg, 2008
(72 pages; available as PDF file; 8,3 MB)
... view digital files of the Lorand Collection