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Jewish Cabaret In Exile / New Budapest Orpheum Society

New Budapest Orpheum Society
Release Date: 03/10/2009 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 110  
Composer:  Edmund Josef NickMoses MilnerMordecai GebirtigAbraham Ellstein,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A fine production … deserves great success.

This is a sumptuous production. Following on from the 2 CD 'Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano' album, this new recording from the New Budapest Orpheum Society is housed in a double jewel case to cope with the 64 page booklet included. Half of this is taken up with all song texts in the original languages of German and Yiddish. All of the songs are sung in the original languages, but English translations are provided. The rest covers historical context, tradition, themes and content, language and musical forms. The composers and authors lives are referred to more in passing than specifically described in detail, but there is enough information on the many unfamiliar names to
Read more give some idea of their place in this rich vein of musical discovery.

What does Jewish Cabaret sound like? This is a different animal to the 'klezmer' phenomenon which exists around feasts and dancing, themes such as the traditions of matchmaking, the festivals of weddings, individual significant characters such as the Rabbi, the naive fathers or the frightening mother-in-law, or such party themes such as food and the results of drinking. The cabaret songs in this programme have something of a relationship with certain types of 'salon' music from the early years of the 20 th century, but frequently comment on life in exile, poking satirical fun at authority and the woes of society. As further reference, they can in some ways be set against more familiar but similar sounding works such as Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera. There is a certain amount of sentimental nostalgia in these songs, but any such heartfelt expression is balanced with fortitude, and is frequently transformed within the duration of the song into one or other kind of more audience-pleasing humour. With examples such as ballad, tango and other typical strophic forms of song, the compact but effective instrumentation of the arrangements provide a kind of directness which has great clarity, sometimes to the point of almost belligerent confrontation. The combination of romantic musical setting and texts which pull no punches create a powerful impression in the section under The Poetics of Exile section with the reference to Franz Lehár in Zuckerbrot und Peitsche, 'Sweetbread and Whips', and the tango lampoon of ignorance in Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit, 'Unity and Justice and Freedom', with lines such as 'Stupid is stupid, and pills don't help.... German is German, and pills don't help.'

Another highlight of the disc is the pair of songs from Zeitungsausschnitte or Newspaper Clippings by Hans Eisler, with their grim comment on human frailty and the futility of war. Victor Ullman's Three Yiddish Songs are also superbly crafted but based on the more tenderly traditional themes of love and longings. With only piano accompaniment they provide a bit of a break from the percussion in most of the other songs. I had to think of Tom Lehrer with Georg Kreisler's Poisoning Pigeons. On the crassest of Viennese waltzes, the text comes very close to Lehrer's, while the music has more affinity with his Alma.

There is plenty of fun to be had from the upbeat opposites of ein unverbesserlicher optimist, and in a sense this figure stands as exemplar for the entire collection: the pains of daily life against a background of tragedy, expressed in an irrepressible tradition of narrative and communal experience. The New Budapest Orpheum Society is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, and its artistic director Philip V. Bohlman is engaged in serious research, rescuing and reconstructing this Jewish cabaret music and then bringing it vibrantly to life with an excellent ensemble; spreading the word with this fine recording. Such efforts deserve great success - a fine production.

-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International

"The beautifully produced Çedille album of Jewish cabaret music broke new ground. Yet more depths were revealed in a ravaged culture: modest, entertaining, and humane." -- Paul Ingram, Fanfare

The booklet accompanying this release is so thick that it requires a double jewel case to accommodate it and the single CD it documents. So extensive are the essay, annotations, and bibliography to this production—assumed to have been authored by the New Budapest Orpheum’s director, Philip V. Bohlman, though nowhere is he credited as the author—that I will not even try to summarize their contents, which cover the history, politics, and poetics of Yiddish song in stage, screen, vaudeville, and cabaret. The program of Jewish cabaret songs contained herein complements some of the volumes that appeared in the massive Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, though the composers represented on the current CD were not necessarily transplants to American soil. Of those who enriched the Jewish cabaret literature, some did make it to U.S. shores, notably Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill, and Arnold Schoenberg. But others, such as Viktor Ullmann and Pavel Haas, perished in the Holocaust.

The disc is divided into seven sections: (1) “The Great Ennui on the Eve of Exile,” featuring songs by Edmund Nick and Erich Kästner; (2) “The Exiled Language—Yiddish Songs for Stage and Screen,” featuring unattributed songs, but at least one by Abraham Ellstein; (3) “Transformation of Tradition,” presenting songs by the aforementioned Eisler; (4) “The Poetics of Exile,” offering songs by Kurt Tucholsky, as well as additional songs by Eisler; (5) “Traumas of Inner Exile,” featuring songs by Ullmann; (6) “Nostalgia and Exile,” presenting additional unattributed songs; and (7) “Exile in Reprise,” offering songs by Friedrich Holländer.
The songs were chosen to reflect the various phases of exile—physical, emotional, and psychological—that European Jewry experienced in the period leading up to and during WW II and its immediate aftermath, roughly 1935 to 1945, a period that accounts for the second great exodus of Jews from Europe. Primarily then, these are songs from the smoke-filled nightclubs and entertainment halls of Berlin and other European cities before the rise of Hitler, from the barracks of the concentration camps during the Holocaust, and from the months and years following the liberation. The before, during, and after the Shoah aspects of the recorded material frame and reflect the corresponding attitudes, mindsets, and living conditions of the times—from a song like Elegy in the Forest of Things, expressing a kind of resigned world weariness; to Ellstein’s Deep as Night that tries to deaden the senses to the pain of the outside world with the surrogate internal pain of a longed for love; to the bitter sarcasm of Eisler’s Sweetbread and Whips and Georg Kreisler’s Poisoning Pigeons, a song about spreading arsenic on graham crackers and feeding them to the birds in the park; and finally to I’m an Irrepressible Optimist, a song from the aftermath which cannot erase memories and finds optimism only in the release of death.

The New Budapest Orpheum Society is an ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago. A mixed group of vocalists (Julia Bentley, mezzo-soprano and Stewart Figa, baritone) and instrumentalists (Iordanka Kisslova, violin; Stewart Miller, string bass; Hank Tausend, percussion; and Ilya Levinson, piano), the NBOS performs regularly at Chicago’s universities, synagogues, and cultural institutions, and has also appeared at the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum and the American Academy in Berlin. Philip V. Bohlman is the group’s artistic director; and Ilya Levinson, in addition to her role as pianist, also serves as music director and arranger.

Readers who acquired and enjoyed the three volumes from the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music titled “Songs of the American Yiddish Stage” (Naxos 8.559405, 8.559432, and 8.559455) will find much in “Jewish Cabaret in Exile” to their liking. One needn’t necessarily be Jewish, however, to appreciate this material, much of which had its origins in the dives, dance halls, and strip joints of Bertolt Brecht’s, Kurt Weill’s, Lotte Lenya’s, and Marlene Dietrich’s Berlin. Some of it is pretty heady stuff, with the gender-bending sexual stereotyping and absurdist satire of a decadent, Dada-costumed culture on the verge of imploding. Recommended then if you love it. If you don’t, best leave it.
-- Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

Track listing details:

I. The Great Ennui on the Eve of Exile
Edmund Nick (1891–1973) & Erich Kästner (1899–1974)
1 Die möblierte Moral / The Well-Furnished Morals (1:48)
2 Das Wiegenlied väterlicherseite / The Father’s Lullaby (4:49)
3 Die Elegie in Sachen Wald / Elegy in the Forest of Things (3:29)
4 Der Gesang vom verlorenen Sohn / The Song of the Lost Son (5:13)
5 Das Chanson für Hochwohlgeborene / The Chanson for Those Who Are Born Better (2:43)
6 Der Song “man müßte wieder . . .”/ The Song “Once Again One Must . . .” (3:59)

II. The Exiled Language — Yiddish Songs for Stage and Screen
7 Moses Milner (1886–1953): In Cheider / In the Cheder (5:46)
8 Mordechai Gebirtig (1877–1942): Avreml, der Marvikher / Abe, the Pickpocket (5:12)
9 Abraham Ellstein (1907–1963): Tif vi di Nacht / Deep as the Night (3:07)

III. Transformation of Tradition
Hanns Eisler (1898–1962):
From Zeitungsausschnitte, Op. 11 (Newspaper Clippings)
10 Mariechen / Little Marie (1:49)
11 Kriegslied eines Kindes / A Child’s Song of War (2:32)

IV. The Poetics of Exile: Songs by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Tucholsky (1890–1935)
12 Heute zwischen Gestern und Morgen / Today between Yesterday and Tomorrow (2:35)
13 Bügerliche Wohltätigkeit / Civic Charity (3:01)
14 Zuckerbrot und Peitsche / Sweetbread and Whips (2:20)
15 An den deutschen Mond / To the German Moon (2:46)
16 Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit / Unity and Justice and Freedom (1:53)
17 Couplet für die Bier-Abteilung / Couplet for the Beer Department (1:26)

V. Traumas of Inner Exile
Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944)
Three Yiddish Songs (Brezulinka), op. 53 (1944)
18 Berjoskele / The Little Birch (4:18)
19 Margaritkele / Little Margaret (1:37)
20 Ich bin a Maydl in di Yorn / I’m Already a Young Woman (1:30)

VI. Nostalgia and Exile
21 Georg Kreisler (b. 1922): Tauben vergiften / Poisoning Pigeons (2:46)
22 Hermann Leopoldi (1888–1959) and Robert Katscher (1894–1942): Ich bin ein unverbesserlicher Optimist / I’m an Irrepressible Optimist (3:46)
23 Misha Spoliansky (1898–1985) / Marcellus Schiffer (1892–1932): Heute Nacht oder nie / Tonight or Never (3:22)

VII. Exile in Reprise
Friedrich Holländer on Stage and Film
24 Friedrich Holländer (1896–1976): Marianka (2:32)
25 Wenn der Mond, wenn der Mond . . . / If the Moon, If the Moon . . . (3:00) Lyrics by Theobald Tiger (Kurt Tucholsky)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Die möblierte Moral by Edmund Josef Nick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
2.
Das Wiegenlied väterlicherseite by Edmund Josef Nick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Die Elegie in Sachen Wald by Edmund Josef Nick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Der Gesang vom verlorenen Sohn by Edmund Josef Nick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Das Chanson für Hochwohlgeborene by Edmund Josef Nick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Der Song "Man müsste wieder . . ." by Edmund Josef Nick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
7.
In Chejder by Moses Milner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Russia 
8.
Avreml, der Marvikher by Mordecai Gebirtig
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Tif vi di Nacht by Abraham Ellstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
10.
Zeitungsausschnitte, Op. 11: Mariechen by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925-1926; Germany 
11.
Zeitungsausschnitte, Op. 11: Kriegslied eines Kindes by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925-1926; Germany 
12.
Heute zwischen Gestern und Morgen by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
13.
Bügerliche Wohltätigkeit by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
14.
Zuckerbrot und Peitsche by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
15.
An den deutschen Mond by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
16.
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
17.
Couplet für die Bier-Abteilung by Hanns Eisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
18.
Jiddische Lieder (3), Op. 53 "Brezulinka" by Viktor Ullmann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; Terezín, Czech Repub 
19.
Tauben vergiften by Georg Kreisler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
20.
Ich bin ein unverbesserlicher Optimist by Hermann Leopoldi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
21.
Heute Nacht oder nie by Mischa Spoliansky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
22.
Marianka by Frederick Holländer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 
23.
Wenn der Mond, wenn der Mond by Frederick Holländer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Budapest Orpheum Society
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Die moblierte Moral (The Well-Furnished Morals)
Das Wiegenlied vaterlicherseite (The Father's Lullaby)
Die Elegie in Sachen Wald (Elegy in the Forest of Things)
Der Gesang vom verlorenen Sohn (The Song of the Lost Son)
Das Chanson fur Hochwohlgeborene (The Chanson for Those Who Are Born Better)
Der Song, "man musste wieder ..." (The Song, "Once Again One Must ... ")
In Cheider (In the Cheder)
Avreml, der Marvikher (Abe, the Pickpocket)
Tif vi di Nacht (Deep as the Night)
Zeitungsausschnitte, Op. 11: No. 1. Mariechen
Zeitungsausschnitte, Op. 11: No. 4. Kriegslied eines Kindes
Heute zwischen Gestern und Morgen (Today between Yesterday and Tomorrow)
Bugerliche Wohltatigkeit (Civic Charity)
Zuckerbrot und Peitsche (Sweetbread and Whips)
An den deutschen Mond (To the German Moon)
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Freedom)
Couplet fur die Bier-Abteilung (Couplet for the Beer Department)
3 jiddische Lieder, Op. 53: No. 1. The Little Birch
3 jiddische Lieder, Op. 53: No. 2. Little Margaret
3 jiddische Lieder, Op. 53: No. 3. I'm Already a Young Woman
Tauben vergiften (Poisoning Pigeons)
Ich bin ein unverbesserlicher Optimist (I'm an Irrepressible Optimist)
Heute Nacht oder nie!
Klabund: Marianka
Wenn der Mond, wenn der Mond (If the Moon, If The Moon)

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