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|New Budapest Orpheum Society||Primary Artist, Ensemble|
|Melanie Germond||Graphic Design|
Posted October 1, 2010
JEWISH CABARET - IN BLACK AND WHITE (Review by Professor JF )
This disc comes seven years after this group's first disc Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano. I have not heard that disc, but based on the album description of that disc and listening to this one, the New Budapest Orpheum Society (referred to subsequently as NBOS ) takes their disc preparation and artistry seriously .
This 80 minute CD is divided into seven distinct sections:
1.) The Great Ennui on the Eve of Exile - six songs by Nick and Kastner
2.) The Exiled Language- Yiddish Songs for Stage and Screen-three songs by Milner, Gebirtig, and Ellstein
3.) Transformation of Tradition- two songs from Hanns Eisler's Zeitungsausschnitte (Op.11)
4.) The Poetics of Exile-six songs by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Tucholsky
5.) Traumas of Inner Exile -Three Yiddish Songs by Viktor Ullman Op. 53 (1944-Terezin)
6.) Nostalgia and Exile -three songs by Kreisler, Leopoldi, and Spoliansky
7.) Exile in Reprise-Friedrich Hollander on Stage and Film (two songs)
As can be seen from the ambitious program, the NBOS has a comprehensive view of what they consider to be Jewish cabaret music. To me, much of this program is 20th century Jewish art song (some of the Eisler and the Ullman).Some of the Yiddish film music is not real cabaret, either. The author's concept of what Jewish cabaret music is is described in an intellectually interminable essay at the beginning of the CD booklet. More preciseness, clarity, and brevity may have made me comprehend better what the author is actually after. I appreciate the scholarship, just not how it is presented. These are supposed to be liner notes, not a Master's thesis.
The music itself is nostalgic, satirical, and very political -all part of the Jewish profile of the cabaret scenario following World War One. The musicianship of NBOS is excellent but the arrangements are a bit colorless. They could use a greater variety of instrumentation in many of the songs (a trumpet, trombone, clarinet and accordion may have helped). The vocalists are very good, but they do not sound like real cabaret singers (they're not). They still sing the music stylishly.
The repertoire represented on the CD makes this disc almost indispensible and my criticisms are really my wishes for the NBOS to improve their presentation for popular Jewish cabaret and art songs of the early 20th century for their future recordings.
Please keep up your important work NBOS, but next time could you give us some cabaret music in COLOR instead of BLACK and WHITE. We Jews like sex, cigar and cigarette smoke, the smell of cheap perfume, and dark lighting in our cabaret music, too!!!!