The Music of Tefillah - The Cantorial Council of America Mid-Winter Conference took place today in Teaneck. Due to an early AM gig and a family commitment, I was only able to attend the third session, "The Music and Message of Moditz and How the Music Can Be Effectively Used in Davening".
It was an interesting session. Essentially, Cantor Yaakov Motzen, who considers himself a Modzitzer, has adapted the framework of the popular "Carlebach Kabbalat Shabbat" by using Modzitzer melodies.
One of the criticisms many chazzonim have of the Carlebach Friday Night service is the abandonment of the traditional nusach hatefilah. Cantor Motzen's settings work beautifully with the words and lead nicely into the nusach as well.
Benefits of this approach are:
1) The melodies are so much more musically interesting, compared to many of the Carlebach tunes being used for Kabbalat Shabbat. Also, No simple AB song forms.
2) The tunes chosen work well for group singing.
3) Nusach is respected, not abandoned.
4) The congregation is exposed to Chassidic nigunim.
This template seems like it could be easily modified to accommodate the nigunim of most any chassidus.
Cantor Motzen is in the midst of recording this project, and I look forward to hearing the results.