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There is hardly any other traditional Jewish tune that attracted so much attention from the composers of the last century. Innumerable are the arrangements for voice with piano, organ or violin accompaniment and violoncello obligato. We have the exalted melody prepared for choir and small orchestra. And last but not least is the concerto by Max Bruch. In the first bars of Beethoven's C# minor quartet, the opening theme of Kol Nidrei is recognizable. Thus has the music world come to consider this the most characteristic tune of the synagogue." (Idelsohn, The Kol Nidrei Tune, in: HUC Annual, Vol VIII-IX, 1931/2, p.493)
Max Bruch himself wrote the following on Kol Nidrei, in a letter to cantor and musicologist Eduard Birnbaum (4 December 1889):
"...I became acquainted with Kol Nidre and a few other songs (among others, 'Arabian Camel') in Berlin through the Lichtenstein family, who befriended me. Even though I am a Protestant, as an artist I deeply felt the outstanding beauty of these melodies and therefore I gladly spread them through my arrangement.
...As a young man I had already ...studied folksongs of all nations with great enthusiasm, because the folksong is the source of all true melodics---a wellspring, at which one must repeatedly renew and refresh oneself---if one doesn't admit to the absurd belief of a certain party: "The melody is an outdated view." So lay the study of Jewish ethnic music on my path." (translation kindly provided by Richard Schoeller.)