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Lazar Weiner: The Art of Yiddish Song
     

Lazar Weiner: The Art of Yiddish Song

 
The Yiddish-language culture that flourished in Europe and America between the world wars is better known for its literary and cinematic manifestations than for works in the realm of classical music, but in this field, too, Jewish creative artists made distinctive contributions. The Yiddish art songs heard on this disc had their own generic classification (they were

Overview

The Yiddish-language culture that flourished in Europe and America between the world wars is better known for its literary and cinematic manifestations than for works in the realm of classical music, but in this field, too, Jewish creative artists made distinctive contributions. The Yiddish art songs heard on this disc had their own generic classification (they were called lider). Their composer, Lazar Weiner, emigrated from Kiev to the U.S. in 1919 as a result of religious persecution; he had a Ukrainian conservatory education, and it was not until he came to America that he really discovered Yiddish literature and Jewish folklore. He also wrote a good deal of choral music in Yiddish. These are genuine art songs, with equal roles for singer and piano, rather than simple folkloristic settings. The various parts of Weiner's conservatory education show through the music in turn; he sounds at times like Mussorgsky (the biggest influence), like Brahms, and, perhaps more surprisingly, like Fauré. But the folk music of Eastern European Jews flavors all of his music and ties it together. He does not quote actual folk songs ("If I need a traditional melody, I create my own," he said) but rather creates a distinctive melodic vocabulary shaped by the Yiddish language as well as by the nuances of traditional music. The texts are by various poets and cover a huge range of subjects, from world events to lullabies to religious themes. Several songs are delightfully humorous; sample track 17, "Der Yid mitn Fidl" (The Jew with the Fiddle), with its Bickersons-like but not overbroad depiction, completely without recourse to the language of Broadway musical comedy, of a musician husband nagged toward more practical activities by his wife. A variety of performers are featured on this disc, which draws from recordings made between 1972 and 2001, but several are relatives or associates of Weiner, and all display obvious sympathy with and enthusiasm for his music. A detailed booklet goes deep into Weiner's fascinating career, which included stints as a silent film accompanist and as the director of a left-wing workers' chorus. This rather offbeat release ought to find an audience, not just among students of Jewish musical history, but also among lovers of art songs of any stripe.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/21/2006
Label:
Milken Archive
UPC:
0636943944325
catalogNumber:
8559443
Rank:
19290

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Yosl der Klezmer
  2. Yidish, song
  3. Ergets wajt
  4. Ikh hob far dir a sod, song
  5. A Nigun (A Song)
  6. Shtile likht, song
  7. Got geyt mir nokh umetum, song
  8. Khovyes, song
  9. Got un mentsh, song
  10. Tsela-tseldi, song
  11. Der Scholem-zokher, song
  12. Toybnshtile, song
  13. Viglid, for voice & piano
  14. Fun vayte teg, song
  15. Bald vet zayn a regn, humoresque for voice & piano
  16. A papir vil bageyn zelbstmord, humoresque for voice & piano
  17. Der Yid mitn fidl
  18. Baym bentshn likht, song
  19. A Gebet, for voice & piano
  20. Shtile tener, for voice & piano
  21. A foter tsu zayn zun, song
  22. Volt majn tate raych geven, for voice & piano
  23. Di Reid Funm Novi
  24. Ovnt-lid, song
  25. Gramen geshribn in zamd
  26. Ikh hob dikh shoyn lang, song
  27. Viglid, for voice & piano
  28. Dos gold fun dayne oygn, song
  29. Di mayse mit der velt
  30. Ikh bin der vaynrib, song
  31. Unter dayne vayse shtern, song
  32. Yidn zingen Ani mamin

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