Albert Ketelby’s Inclusion of the Kol Nidre Theme in His ‘Sanctuary of the Heart’

On my morning walk on Sunday morning [Feb. 26, 2017] while listening to “All Classical Portland” I heard this peaceful meditative piece, a short orchestral piece, with an almost movie like character.  What caught my ear was hearing the Jewish Kol Nidre theme, which is chanted/sung in synagogues on Yom Kippur Eve – known as the ‘Kol Nidre Service’.

I found out the name of this piece was, “The Sanctuary of the Heart“, a religious meditation piece, composed by the late Romantic Era English composer, conductor and pianist, Albert Ketelbey

Albert Ketelbey [1875 – 1959]

On the Sanctuary of the Heart web site, I learned that this piece was published in 1924 and in the synopsis in the sheet music when describing the origin of the themes in this piece, Ketelbey did not name the Kol Nidre theme only describing it as “an old melody”.   The reason is, there was a lot of prejudice in Britain in the 1920’s against non-Christian religions.  It wasn’t until 1928 when Ketelbey revised his synopsis of his piece did he finally include the name the Kol Nidre theme

Please turn up the volume, play in full screen and enjoy Ketelbey’s “Sanctuary of the Heart”.  This is a very beautiful melodic piece. 

Note: The Kol Nidre theme [a little portion of it] is from: 1:38 – 2:45

One thought on “Albert Ketelby’s Inclusion of the Kol Nidre Theme in His ‘Sanctuary of the Heart’

  1. Listen to the sixth movement of Beethoven’s 14th string quartet. And then realize that he had been fully deaf for a decade plus. I love the idea that Beethoven was seeking atonement at the end of his life, in what I consider to be the greatest work of music ever.


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