LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  February 2005

CLASSICAL February 2005

Subject:

The Golden Chain

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 14 Feb 2005 09:25:17 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (82 lines)

        Robert De Cormier
      When the Rabbi Danced

* Songs of Jewish Life from the Shtetl to the Resistance

Counterpoint/Robert De Cormier.
Albany TROY676 Total time: 64:12

	Mark Zuckerman

* The Year in Jewish Song

The Goldene Keyte Singers.
Centaur CRC 2611 Total time: 46:57

Summary for the Busy Executive: More from the world of Yiddish.

These two collections of choral arrangements of traditional songs aim
to present a rich picture of Yiddish culture.  Both break down their
programs into the following categories: shtetl, songs of the villages
and ghettos of mainly eastern Europe; resistance, songs of Jewish anti-Nazi
partisans; songs of the concentration camps or songs arranged by composers
in those camps.  Zuckerman adds a fifth category: Yiddish in America.

I come from a highly-assimilated generation.  I know very little Yiddish
(and less Hebrew).  I can't even speak a complete Yiddish sentence,
unless I'm quoting somebody.  Even then, I probably get it wrong.  I'm
told that Yiddish enjoys somewhat of a revival among those who never
spoke it "naturally," but I've not met these people.  Certainly, the
state of the language hasn't risen to its previous peak, when a landsman
could have his pick of daily newspapers, browse through and buy novels
and poetry collections from a bookstore, go to the theater, buy pop
records, even see a movie, all in Yiddish.

Robert De Cormier has enjoyed a long career as a choral conductor and
prolific arranger.  He's been music director to such well-knowns as
Belafonte and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  He's also worked with Jessye Norman,
Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade, James Levine, and Andre Previn.  As an
arranger, he's been drawn to the folk side of things, and an American choral
singer has likely done at least a couple of his works.  Counterpoint
consists of eleven professional singers.  Their tone is fine, but nothing
special.  For some numbers, instrumentalists join them.  De Cormier's
instrumental arrangements really don't add much, if anything.  They remind
me a bit of Fred Hellerman's arrangements for Theo Bikel -- something for an
"easy listening" market.  I greatly preferred the a cappella items.
However, the CD also includes arrangements by Viktor Ullmann and Gideon
Klein, both Jewish composers interred at Terezin and killed in the camps.
These lift a good program to a great one.  Ullmann, in particular, likes to
weave in canonic textures with traditional melodies, much like Schoenberg's
folk-song arrangements.

Mark Zuckerman studied with Milton Babbit, among others.  His
music alternates between the thorny and the accessible.  However, his
accessibility comes without patronization or compromise.  The program
here is wonderful stuff, all Zuckerman arrangements or even originals.
The difference between De Cormier and Zuckerman is the difference between
a good arranger and a very good composer.  De Cormier tends to bury his
personality in service of the tune.  Zuckerman plays with the tune, and
brilliantly.  In addition to the pure melody and lyric, there's always
something musically interesting going on to hook you.  For example,
Sholom Secunda -- the Yiddish theater's answer to Broadway's Irving
Berlin -- is represented by his cross-over hit "Bay mir bistu sheyn."
Zuckerman first gives us something close to what might have been heard
in Yiddish circles and then launches into a luminous choral evocation
of swing.  Other out-of-the-ordinary cuts are "In kamf," from the
American labor movement, sung at Jewish May Day rallies, and Berl Lapin's
(1889-1952)Yiddish rendition of "America the Beautiful" ("Amerike di
prekhtike"), an example of the new immigrants striving to become "real
Americans." The Goldene Keyt ("golden chain") Singers number four, and
I doubt they're all Jewish, especially Mary Ellen Callahan and Hsi-Ling
Chang, though you never know.  At any rate, their Yiddish is far better
than mine.  It's harder to sing with three other singers than with eight
others, because any little mistake you make stands out like a boil on
your nose.  The Goldene Keyt (named after the literary journal?) display
the highest degree of musicianship, although their tone, like that of
Counterpoint, isn't really special.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed them far
more, especially their intonation and their rhythmic snap.

I recommend both discs -- the De Cormier for the a cappella arrangements,
the Zuckerman for all the arrangements and for the singers.

Steve Schwartz

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager