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Makh tsu di Eygelekh - Yiddish Songs
Unter beymer [4:07]
Zol zayn [2:22]
Yome, Yome [2:16]
Margaritkeleh [3:28]
Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi [1:55]
Yoshke, Yoshke [1:18]
Oyfn Veg shteyt a Boym [4:23]
Shlof mayn feygele [2:56]
A Mayse [4:47]
Yankele [4:36]
Vayse Shtern [2:16]
Makh tsu di Eygelekh [3:13]
Dremlen Feygl [3:07]
Papir iz dokh vays [2:16]
Reyzele [3:13]
Reyzele [2:25] *
Makh tsu di Eygelekh [2:09] *
Yidische Mama [2:53] *
Veshamru [1:09] *
Helene Schneiderman (voice): Götz Payer (piano)
Judith and Paul Schneiderman (voice) *
rec. March 2012, SWR Stuttgart, Kammermusikstudio
Texts and translations included
CARUS 83.380 [57:09]

Helene Schneiderman has here constructed a programme of Yiddish folk-songs ranging across the years well into the twentieth-century. Many of the arrangements are by the pianist Götz Payer. The title of the disc is indeed the first song that Schneiderman can remember from her childhood; family connections are further cemented when, in the final tracks, her parents sing, very charmingly, some of the same songs that she earlier essayed - but they do so unaccompanied.
 
The songs derive from diverse sources. Unter beymer enshrines melancholy foreboding and was arranged for a film. Zol zany is a spinning song, where Schneiderman’s warm mezzo confers a degree of art song heft not unfamiliar from the mid-nineteenth songs on which it’s clearly based. The panoply of Germanic and Eastern tropes is covered. The forest ballad is richly voiced in a tale of a mad and dark young man in Margaritkeleh whilst Yoshke, Yoshke offers instead a lilting, swaying drinking song - appropriately brief. One of the most attractive of the ballads - written in the 1930s? - is Oyfn Veg shteyt a Boym though the piano writing that graces A Mayse is no less beautiful.
 
The tenor of many of the songs is thus largely traditional, and sometimes quite formalistic. Some evoke the modern troubadour, whilst others are more overtly dramatic, as is Vayse Shtern which is declaimed with real vehemence by Schneiderman. That title song, Makh tsu di Eygelekh, was written for performance in the Łodz ghetto, whilst Vilnius was the location for the performance of the bitter cradle song, Dremlen Feygl. Love is not dismissed: Papir iz dokh vays is a love song. One of the most overtly Chassidic pieces is Reyzele, an omnipresent in the lexicon of Yiddish songs; its rubati and ethos are lovingly explored here, and also by the singer’s parents.
 
This hour-long programme covers a rich range of concerns, taking songs both popular and less well-known, from a variety of traditions. Whether lullaby or drinking song, or whether taking the works of much set Yiddish song poets such as Mark Warshavsky, Itzik Manger and Mordkhe Gebirtig, this disc ranges wide both geographically and expressively.
 
Jonathan Woolf