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Milken Archive - A. Ellstein - Yiddish Stage Songs Vol 1


Release Date: 09/23/2003 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559405   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Abraham EllsteinAbe SchwartzDavid MeyerowitzHerman Yablokoff,   ... 
Performer:  Simon SpiroElizabeth ShammashAmy GoldsteinRobert Bloch,   ... 
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The American Yiddish musical theater, a vibrant expression of the immigrant experience, became famous during its heyday in the 1920s–1940s. Combining the musical flavors of Viennese operetta, Tin Pan Alley, and eastern European nostalgia, these songs and duets are quintessential American popular music—with a Yiddish voice. Volume 1 spotlights the hit songs of Abe Ellstein, one of the genre’s premier songwriters. New, historically accurate orchestrations re-create the unforgettable glory days of Yiddish radio and film, the uproarious vaudeville houses, and the thrill of a night at the theater on old New York’s fabled "Second Avenue."

“…it now gives me great pleasure to come right out and state that this particular CD
Read more is a gem... all told, it is really a superb CD, and everyone connected with it ought to be very pleased as well as very proud. I only hope that it is as great a commercial success as it is an artistic one.” — Morton Gold, Jewish Post and Opinion (Indianapolis, Indiana) (March 23, 2005)

“For some, this CD will be a nostalgia trip down memory lane; for others, a real discovery of the rich treasures of a once vibrant Jewish era. Performances are all wonderful.” — Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

“…a joy. Excellent sonics.” — American Record Guide

“For an example of beautiful art at the service of sheer good fun, the Yiddish music hall songs of Abraham Ellstein and friends are unbeatable.” — La Scena Musicale

“The performances are nothing short of terrific... One of my favorite Naxos discs.” — Classical CD Review.com

“Though the album’s 16 songs were born long ago on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, they’re surprisingly modern, lively enough for today’s Broadway stage... Every track is delicious, thanks in large part to the singers, who come from conservatory, musical theater and cantorial backgrounds. Each is dynamite... The songs describe as vividly as a Ken Burns documentary the life of Jewish immigrants in early 20th century America. Their disappointments, their love affairs, their money struggles, all are accounted for in this delightful set... Why hasn’t some shrewd Broadway producer yet brought to the stage a revival/revue comprised of songs from these Yiddish musicals? Based on great songs on this new Milken Archive set, such a show would surely reap a harvest of Tony Awards... The music is glorious, while Yiddish, as sung on this set, shows itself to be a truly expressive and easyon- the-ear language.” — Jewish News Weekly

“[One of the] two most engaging discs [among the first ten Milken Archive CDs released in Europe]... if I could keep only one of these discs, it would be ‘Great Songs of the Yiddish Stage, Volume 1’... Part of my interest is historical: here’s a nearly forgotten tradition that, once heard, gives us a clearer understanding of composers like Bernstein, Weill and Gershwin — and of Tin Pan Alley more generally. But even without that history, I probably would have fallen in love with this material... There’s something absolutely haunting in this music. Part of its magic comes from the effortless way it blends so many idioms: this is a world where klezmer melts into Tchaikovsky, cabaret, Johann Strauss and early jazz. Part of its effect comes from its ability to evoke what is, to me, the real core of secular American (at least, New York) Jewish identity—the ability to see at least two (and usually more) sides of every question. A love-song? It has to have a bittersweet edge, a subtle sense of loss—qualities rarely found in the lesser Tin Pan Alley songs of the same vintage. Light-hearted comedy? It has to have a selfconsciousness of the cruelty that underlies most humour. Part of the music’s charm comes, too, from the sheer sedutiveness of its melodies—once you hear Ellstein’s Ikh Zing (‘I Sing’), you’ll be humming it for days. The singers are all first-rate (tenors Simon Spiro and Bruce Adler deserve special attention). And under the sure guidance of conductor Elli Jaffe, the members of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Barcelona Symphony sound as if they’d grown up on New York’s Lower East Side. Highest recommendation.” — Peter Rabinowitz, International Record Review

“...the songs have a refreshing charm and honesty, and they are performed here with a spontaneity and enthusiasm that is totally affecting. ****“ — Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine

“Sheer delight! Adherents of music theatre must hear this glorious revival of music from a little known milieu... Full scores and parts have been reconstructed with every appearance of authenticity and loving care... These songs are saucy, smiling, swooning, sexy, sentimental and yes schmaltzy. Stylistic streams flow freely...interacting with each other. Weimar decadence, Viennese operetta voices of Lehar and Robert Stolz, Klezmer, folk song, Brahmsian lullaby they collide, inter-breed and metamorphose. The music also reminds us that the early shows of Stephen Sondheim owed not a little to this genre... I have played [Ikh Zing] at least fifteen times already for sheer pleasure... Robert Bloch knows how to use that yearning slightly nasal tone of voice so ringingly close to Dermota and Wunderlich. If Classic FM do not pick up this track they lack their much-vaunted ear for a winner. This song is a sure-fire recipe for goose-flesh and the prickle of hairs on the back of the neck... The VCO’s clarinet deserves some sort of special award for getting his instrument to act, laugh, chuckle, caper and leer... A supremely sweetened Brahmsian orchestration (think Hungarian Dances) crowns Nell Snaidas’s triumphantly lilting Zog Zog Zog Es Mir and the same flavour comes across in Mazl... The oily suggestive humour of Ikh bin a Boarder is slyly done by Bruce Adler—yipping and crooning—a tour-de-force of character singing. This is an all or nothing performance. The only reaction is Wow... Recording is of the very best. Orchestra and singers have been extremely well chosen. It is divisive to choose but choose I will. Robert Bloch and Nell Snaidas are my current favourites... This well documented and superbly recorded winner opens a door onto a piteously neglected area of the repertoire. If this is anything to go by this CD (and its successor will spell) the sort of revival symphonic film music made during the 1970s and Broadway shows made during the 1980s.” — Rob Barnett, MusicWeb-International.com

"...lively, affecting, beautifully performed pieces." — Howard Kissel, New York Daily News

"Utterly delightful... — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Click here to view all available releases in the Milken Archive Series at ArkivMusic.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Der Nayer Sher by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Simon Spiro (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
2.
Eyns un a rekhts: Oygn by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Elizabeth Shammash (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3.
Ikh vil es hern hokh amol by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Amy Goldstein (Soprano), Simon Spiro (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
4.
Mameleh: Ikh zing by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Robert Bloch (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: Yiddish 
5.
Mameleh: Abi Gezint by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Amy Goldstein (Soprano)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Yiddish 
6.
Der berditchever khosn: Zog es mir nokh amol by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Bruce Adler (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: Yiddish 
7.
Di grine kuzine by Abe Schwartz
Performer:  Joanne Borts (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
8.
Vos geven iz geven un nito by David Meyerowitz
Performer:  Simon Spiro (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
9.
Oy, mame, bin ikh farlibt by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Elizabeth Shammash (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
10.
Zog, zog, zog es mir by Herman Yablokoff
Performer:  Nell Snaidas (Soprano)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
11.
Du shaynst vi di zun by Ilia Trilling
Performer:  Nell Snaidas (Soprano), Robert Bloch (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 33 Secs. 
12.
Vos iz gevorn fun mayn shtetele? by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Benzion Miller (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
13.
Mameleh: Mazl by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Elizabeth Shammash (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
14.
Ikh bin a "Boarder" bay mayn vayb by Reuben Doctor
Performer:  Bruce Adler (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Yiddish 
15.
Der alter tzigayner by Abraham Ellstein
Performer:  Simon Spiro (Tenor)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
16.
Der dishvasher by Herman Yablokoff
Performer:  Robert Abelson (Baritone)
Conductor:  Elli Jaffe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Baumgartner Casino, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Der Nayer Sher (The New Sher)
Ogyn (Eyes)
Ikh Vil Es Hern Nokh Amol (I Want to Hear it Again)
Ikh Zing (For You I Sing)
Abi Gezunt (So Long As You're Healthy)
Zog Es Mir Nokh Amol (Tell Me Again)
Di Grine Kuzine (The Greenhorn Cousin)
Vos Geven Iz Geven Un Nito (What Was, Was, and Is No More)
Oy Mame, Bin Ikh Farlibt (Oh, Mama, I'm in Love)
Zog, Zog, Zog Es Mir (Tell Me, Say It to Me)
Der Dishvasher (The Dishwasher)
Du Shaynst Vi Di Zun (You Shine Like the Sun)
Vos Iz Gevorn Fun Mayn Shtetele? (Whatever Became of My Shtetl?)
Mazl (Good Fortune)
Ikh Bin A "Boarder" Bay Mayn Vayb (I'm a Boarder at My Wife's): Ikh Bin a 'Boarder' Bay Mayn Vayb (I'm a Boarder at My Wife's)
Der Alter Tsigayner (The Old Gypsy)

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