Sunday, March 25, 2007

Popular Genres for Gentiles as Well as Jews

This is an out of print LP originally released by Folklyric Records. The album consists of recordings of klezmer music released on 78 RPM disc from 1910-1927. Touted as being "the first GOOD collection of remastered klezmer '78s," Dr. Martin Schwartz, of the University of California at Berkeley, helped breathe life into an almost unknown musical genre through the compiling of this musical collection. It has recently been updated and remastered by David Julian Gray (one of the original Klezmorim) and is now available on CD with added tracks.

Klezmer is a Yiddish term, which basically translates to 'musician.' It was derived from the late Hebrew k(e)ley-zemer (vessels of tune). Although, the use of the term klezmer music refers to instrumental music of the folk-tradtions of the "Yiddish-speaking Jewry of Eastern Europe," it should be noted that as late as the 1960's in Romania, Gypsies were the only source for traditional Jewish music.

Some of the most remarkable tracks on the collection include the clarinet playing of Naftule Brandwein (Brandwine). Until the late 1920's, Brandwine was the most recorded clarinetist of klezmer music; Dave Tarras was virtually unknown up to this point.

Although the clarinet is the most important instrument in this genre of folk music, one can hear solos performed on other instruments in this collection, like the cembalo (the cymbalon, or the cembalom, a type of hammered dulcimer), the accordion, and even the xylophone.

Recommended reading for further information on klezmer music would be any text written or music compiled by Henry Sapoznik.

Klezmer Music

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