Jewish Music Series

Jewish Music Series (Schott Wergo, 1993-2008), edited by Joel Rubin and Rita Ottens

The Jewish Music Series is a unique series of CD productions on the Wergo label (a subsidiary of Schott Music and Media) dedicated to the documentation of unusual contemporary and historical forms of traditional and popular Jewish music. The series celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2008 with the release of Aneinu! Hasidic-Orthodox Music from the Festival of the Torah in Jerusalem, which made the German Record Critics’ Award Quarterly Critics’ Choice (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik Bestenliste) for the fourth quarter of 2008.

Available from: www.wergo.de, www.amazon.de. Most available from www.amazon.com and other N. American outlets.

Note: many of these titles, including those that are out of print as CDS, are available from iTunes.com and other digital downloading sites such as finetunes.net, musicload.de.

“wonderful Jewish Music Series”
(Seth Rogovoy, author of The Essential Klezmer)

“milestones of historical performance practice”
(Der kleine Bund, Switzerland)

“an entire panoply of outstanding CDs “
(Jüdische Allgemeine Wochenzeitung)

“a series well worth hearing “
(www.klassik.com)

Aneinu CD cover

Aneinu!: Hasidic-Orthodox Music from the Festival of the Torah in Jerusalem

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Aneinu!:
Hasidic-Orthodox Music from the Festival of the Torah in Jerusalem
Moshe Berlin Ensemble
(Schott Wergo SM 1628-2)

Aneinu! contains repertoire from the Israeli Hasidic-orthodox klezmer tradition. The field recordings of Israel’s foremost klezmer clarinetist, Moshe Berlin were made by ethnomusicologist Joel Rubin in a yeshiva during the ceremony celebrating the end of the holiday Simchat Torah. They show the vital role that the music of the klezmorim and the ecstatic singing of nigunim (melodies of spiritual elevation) play among orthodox Jews, displaying at the same time a microcosm of the variety of ethnic and cultural influences to be found in the musical traditions of Israel today. more...

Shalom Comrade CD cover

Shalom Comrade!: Yiddish Music in the Soviet Union 1928-1961

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

Shalom Comrade!: Yiddish Music in the Soviet Union 1928-1961
(Schott Wergo SM 1627-2)

The anthology Shalom Comrade! tells the history of Yiddish music in the Soviet Union via rare recordings from the archive of Rubin and Ottens which have been digitally remastered by Christian Zwarg. This carefully edited production documents the enormous variety of Yiddish music performed in the Soviet Union, from rollicking klezmer dance tunes to the interwar Polish-Jewish cabaret songs of the Galician troubadour Mordkhe Gebirtig, 19th century Yiddish folk songs, music of the Soviet Yiddish theatre, to art songs with revolutionary texts by composers such as Samuil Polonskii, Lev Pulver, Vladimir Shainskii and Moses Milner, and texts by the poets B. Bergolts and Iosif Kerler. Rubin and Ottens’ 40-page booklet in English and German includes a detailed essay about the political-ideological impact on Yiddish language, culture and music and – in the final analysis – on Jewish life in the Soviet Union. Here is an extended, trilingual (English/German/Russian) version with complete song texts in the original YiddishArticle “Die jüdische Sängerin Marina Gordon” by Rita Ottens. more...

Eybike Mame CD cover

Di Eybike Mame (The Eternal Mother): Women in Yiddish Theater and Popular Song, 1905-1929

Saturday, June 14th, 2003

Di Eybike Mame (The Eternal Mother):
Women in Yiddish Theater and Popular Song, 1905-1929
(Schott Wergo SM 1625-2; Mainz 2003)

Di Eybike Mame is first and only CD anthology of recordings featuring women of the Yiddish stage. This carefully edited production documents the enormous variety of music present during the period 1890-1930, from folksong to music hall and vaudeville, liturgical song to operetta and musical comedy. The booklet includes a detailed essay on Yiddish theater music and the role of women in Yiddish popular song. more...

Algazi Sweet Singer of Israel CD cover

Cantor Isaac Algazi Sweet Singer of Israel: Ottoman Jewish Music from the Early 20th Century

Friday, June 14th, 2002

Cantor Isaac Algazi
Sweet Singer of Israel: Ottoman Jewish Music from the Early 20th Century
(Schott Wergo SM 1622-2; Mainz 2002)

Rabbi Isaac Algazi (b. 1889 Izmir/Turkey, d. 1950 Montevideo/Uruguay), the “Sweet Singer of Israel,” was one of the most outstanding cantors of the Sephardic synagogue. One of the leading Turkish-Jewish intellectuals of his time, Algazi was the first to establish the art of solo cantorial singing in the public prayer of Sephardi Jews, influencing 20th century Sephardi cantorial music throughout the world. more...

Oytsres CD cover

Oytsres – Treasures: Klezmer Music 1908-1996

Monday, June 14th, 1999

Oytsres – Treasures:
Klezmer Music 1908-1996
(Schott Wergo SM 1621 2; Mainz, 1999)

Oytsres contains performances by many of the musical personalities described in the book, Klezmer Music, by Joel Rubin and Rita Ottens (Bärenreiter/dtv, 1999), the colorful social history of Yiddish wedding and celebratory music spanning centuries and continents. Among these are the Ukrainian-Jewish violinist M.I. Rabinovitsh, likely the last representative of the lyrical and ornate violin tradition of 19th century Jewish eastern Europe, as well as Naftule Brandwein, Shloimke Beckerman, Dave Tarras and the Max Epstein, the four great American-Jewish clarinetists of the immigrant era in New York. The influence of klezmer music on the Yiddish theater can be heard in Solomon Fayntukh’s symphonic arrangements of traditional klezmer tunes, recorded 1939 in the USSR, and in the melodies of the beloved Yiddish theater composer Alexander Olshanetsky in New York. That the klezmer tradition has organically continued on within both the religious and secular worlds is shown by such varied performances as a field recording of the ultra-orthodox clarinetist Avrom Segal from Israel and the ensemble of the concert clarinetist Joel Rubin from Los Angeles, who is considered by many among the oldest generation of eastern European-influenced American klezmorim as well as the Hasidic musicians of Israel to be the most important interpreter of the klezmer art today. more...

Hungry Hearts CD cover

Joel Rubin, Hungry Hearts: Classic Yiddish Clarinet Solos of the 1920s

Sunday, June 14th, 1998

“A klezmer classic … an important album to have in one’s collection
(Jewish Herald-Voice)

“Rubin is meanwhile the undisputed mentor of the American New Klezmer Revival. And rightly so, as proved by Hungry Hearts, on which Rubin is accompanied by leaders of the genre. In contrast to many … attempts to approach klezmer in an innovative way, here one finds ‘soul.’ No academic demonstration of virtuosity, but rather a natural, living music which obviously imparts as good a time to listeners as it did to the musicians themselves”
(Westzeit 7/98) more...

Beregovski's Khasene CD cover

Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble Beregovski’s Khasene (Berevovski’s Wedding): Forgotten Instrumental Treasures from the Ukraine

Saturday, June 14th, 1997

Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble
Beregovski’s Khasene (Berevovski’s Wedding):
Forgotten Instrumental Treasures from the Ukraine
(Schott Wergo SM 1614-2; Mainz, 1997).

This trendsetting recording was the very first based entirely on melodies from the most important collection of eastern European Jewish music, that of Ukrainian-Jewish ethnomusicologist Moyshe Beregovski (1892-1961). Many of these pieces had not been performed since they were collected over seventy years ago and have since become standards of the klezmer revival. A work of art and at the same time a moving historical document, Beregovski’s Khasene represents a landmark, bringing together leading European and American performers of klezmer, Romani (gypsy) and Balkan music, jazz and new music to create a totally unique sound. more...

Zeydes CD cover

Joel Rubin with the Epstein Brothers Orchestra Zeydes un Eyniklekh (Grandfathers and Grandsons): Jewish-American Wedding Music from the Repertoire of Dave Tarras

Wednesday, June 14th, 1995

Joel Rubin with the Epstein Brothers Orchestra
Zeydes un Eyniklekh (Grandfathers and Grandsons):
Jewish-American Wedding Music from the Repertoire of Dave Tarras
(Schott Wergo SM 1610-2; Mainz, 1995)

Music featured in Mark Wexler’s documentary films “Me and My Matchmaker” (USA 1996) and “Tell Them Who You Are” (USA 2005), Zeydes un Eyniklekh brings together several generations of American klezmer musicians in a musical tribute to the “King of Klezmer,” clarinetist Dave Tarras (1895-1989). A consummate master of the art of klezmer ornamentation, Joel Rubin is accompanied by the Epstein Brothers Orchestra. Together they perform the wedding and celebratory music of the eastern European immigrants in America. The Epstein Brothers, who are recipients of the prestigious 1998 National Heritage Fellowship from the US National Endowment for the Arts, as well as Pete Sokolow and Danny Rubinstein all played at various times with Dave Tarras, the clarinetist from the Ukraine who is the embodiment of “klezmer” for several generations of American Jews. more...

Epstein Brothers Kings of Freylekh Land CD cover

The Epstein Brothers Orchestra Kings of Freylekh Land: A Century of Yiddish-American Music

Wednesday, June 14th, 1995

The Epstein Brothers Orchestra
Kings of Freylekh Land:
A Century of Yiddish-American Music
(Schott Wergo SM 1611-2; Mainz, 1995)

Kings of Freylekh Land contains the music to the award-winning full-length documentary film portrait, “A Tickle in the Heart,” written by Joel Rubin and Rita Ottens with Stefan Schwietert (Germany/USA/Switzerland, 1996). The dynamic and multi-faceted music of the Epstein Brothers, recipients of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the US National Endowment for the Arts (1998), represents an exciting journey into the American-Jewish musical and cultural experience of the past 100 years. Max Epstein (1912-2000) ranks as one of the greatest klezmer clarinetists of the 20th century. He and his brothers are considered to have been innovators in the fields of Yiddish, klezmer and Hasidic music: They brought their knowledge as American dance band players to klezmer music, transforming the celebratory music of the eastern European shtetl into an urban expression of North American Jewry. more...

Bessarabian Symphony CD cover

Rubin & Horowitz Bessarabian Symphony: Early Jewish Instrumental Music

Tuesday, June 14th, 1994

Rubin & Horowitz
Bessarabian Symphony: Early Jewish Instrumental Music
(Schott Wergo SM 1606-2; Mainz, 1994)

The classic recording by Joel Rubin and Josh Horowitz that has influenced much of contemporary klezmer since its release in 1994, with its early music approach and focus on eastern European repertoire. Rubin & Horowitz create an intimate kaleidoscope of sounds which evokes the original beauty of the instrumental wedding and celebratory music of the eastern European Jewish world. The tone of this unique recording is set by the brilliant high register of Joel Rubin’s C clarinet, together with the ethereal tsimbl, the Jewish hammer dulcimer, and the Budowitz accordion from 1889, both beautifully played by Josh Horowitz. more...

Jüdische Lebenswelten CD cover

Jüdische Lebenswelten/Patterns of Jewish Life: Highlights from the Concert Series “Traditional and Popular Jewish Music” Berlin 1992

Tuesday, June 15th, 1993

Jüdische Lebenswelten/Patterns of Jewish Life:
Highlights from the Concert Series
“Traditional and Popular Jewish Music” Berlin 1992
(Schott Wergo SM 1604-2; Mainz, 1993; 2 CDs)

Currently out of print more...