The musical archives from the Great Synagogue of La Victoire (Paris, France)

These archives represent today the most important holding of Ashkenazi liturgical music in France.

Kept in precarious conditions, these archives almost disappeared at the end of August 2011 when a big fire spread on the 4th floor of the synagogue. Fortunately the firemen arrived quickly and extinguished the fire that was contained less than 50cm from the room where were stored the musical archives.

The Synagogue’s website details that :
« These archives have two centuries of musical history of the Consistory and the synagogue :
• two centuries of music scores composed or adapted specially for the big moments of the synagogal service,
• two centuries of music scores often annotated by the composers of the Music Directors of the time,
• two centuries of musical programs of the main events and ceremonies organized in the synagogue for its inauguration, for the enthronement of great Rabbis, official ceremonies and even recently performed concerts.

So we decided to protect this treasure and deposit it to specialists, the European Institute for Jewish Music, that have secured premises and performing tools for filing, digitalizing and archiving. »

Reached by the President and vice-President of the synagogue, Jacques Canet and Félix Loeb, the European Institute for Jewish Music set up a project to save these archives and make available for the public. This project is born thanks to the Foundation for French Judaism, Yuval, the Regional Direction for Cultural Affairs of Paris region, the Alain de Rothschild Institute, the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, and the Halphen family.

Martha StellmacherIn a first instance, the inventory of the archives has been done at the synagogue by a young and talented German musicologist, Martha Stellmacher, as part of the European program called Leonardo. After a short time of training in September 2011, Martha Stellmacher began under the supervision of Hervé Roten, the inventory, the first cleaning and pre-cataloging of the music holdings.



In a second part, an operation scanner digitalized around 90.000 pages of this holding. This digitalizing work was preceded by musicological research in order to reconstitute or to find the missing pages of certain scores.

In a third and last part, the online cataloging of the documents has been done by Yaffa Ellenberger and Rosette Azoulay.

Initially planned to last 24 months, this saving project of the musical archives from the Great Synagogue de La Victoire required 5 years of intensive work which allows today to have access to 2.300 music scores, registers, musical programs... through the RACHEL catalogue. In particular, there are manuscript scores with autographs of great composers such as Fernand Halphen (dedication to the Great Rabbi Zadoc-Kahn), Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe, Léon Algazi, Vladimir Dick, etc.
These archives give an accurate overview of the evolution of the French synagogal cult from its emancipation of 1790-91 to the creation of consistories in 1806-1808.

These archives are now available on the catalog of our collections
Look at the archives from the synagogue of La Victoire
or by appointment at the European Institute for Jewish Music(contact@iemj.org)

Learn more about the synagogue de La Victoire

Look at the the description of the saving mission of the archives of La Victoire and Neuilly.

You may also like

Symposium in Hannover : Magnified and Sanctified, The Music of Jewish Prayer II

From the 9th to the 12th September 2019 at the Hannover university (GERMANY), international symposium on Jewish liturgical music. Hervé Roten, (…)

Musica Judaica Symposium : Jewish music between oral and written traditions

On the 14th & 15th of July 2019 in Oxford (ENGLAND) will take place an international symposium in which Hervé Roten, Director of the European (…)

The EIJM’s Gala Concert - 5th edition - From the synagogue to the opera : Jacques Offenbach and friends

Buy your tickets on the online shop Original Hebrew works by Jacques and Isaac Offenbach, Jacques Fromental Halévy, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Jules (…)

Jewish music and cuisine : delicacies and sounds

CONFERENCE held by the EIJM and the CBL, the 20th June 2019 8h45 PM at the Cercle Bernard Lazare (75003). An audiovisual conference by Hervé (…)

The melody of the Kol Nidre : Sources, interpretations and new compositions

On the 8th April 2019 at 7h30 PM at the Institut Elie Wiesel in Paris (75010) audiovisual conference by Hervé Roten about the melody of the Kol (…)