This stunning collection of recordings by Cantor David Werdyger showcases a rare singing voice, original renditions of cantorial music, and lively compositions of Chassidic melodies. Combining musical virtuosity with warmth, joy, and Chassidic krechtz Cantor Werdyger’s recordings have brought him well-deserved popularity and praise for over half a century.
Born in Krakow to a prominent Chassidic family known for their musical talent, Werdyger was singled out to sing in the Gerer choir for the High Holy Days in 1931 by Rabbi Yankel Talmud during one of his visits to the city. Although just a young child, he quickly became a prodigy delighting audiences throughout Europe. His vocal training took him to Poland, Italy, Austria and France and brought him recognition as an outstanding heldentenor, a term which indicates a tenor voice of great weight and sonority. One of the most dramatic voices in the tenor range, heldentenor is also one of the rarest.
During WWII, along with millions of others, he was herded into various concentration camps. At one point he was about to be taken with a group of 280 of his fellow inmates to be shot. But, he was saved from the firing squad by singing Kel Moleh Rachamim, which so moved a hard-boiled SS officer that he was sent back to the camp with only a whack to the head.
When liberation finally came, Werdyger was chosen to lead the High Holy Days services for 3,000 American Jewish soldiers stationed near Linz, Austria. The warmth and feeling conveyed in Werdyger’s singing, which had served as a source of strength and inspiration to his brethren during the difficult years, created a deeply moving and memorable experience for all who were assembled there.
Music in this collection courtesy of Cantor Mendel Werdyger.