This product is now available from the Transcontinental Music Publications web site, a division of the American Conference of Cantors. Please view our transition page for more information.The Music whose intense, inherent emotion embodies the ancient soul and culture of tried but resilient people is experiencing a resurgence today with a universal appeal far beyond its origins.
Transcontinental Music has teamed up with renowned ethnomusicologist, documentarian, and klezmer musician Yale Strom to create an incredible compilation of nigunim, horas, bulgars, and more. The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook features melody lines and chords for 313 songs - one to keep you busy for every day of the year (excluding shabbes) - many of the songs included were collected from the field by Strom himself in Eastern Europe and published in this collection for the first time ever. Within the Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook you will find a number of exclusive and out of print lost treasures not available anywhere else.
Strom also provides a thorough written history and perspective of klezmer, complete with glossary and archival photos. Included with the book is a companion CD, recorded by Strom with his band Hot P'Stromi. This exciting recording highlights 36 of the songs found in this book, and additional transposed versions of each of them for B flat instruments are included.
Table of Contents:
Notes on Yiddish and Hebrew Spelling
- Before the Khupe
- Processional and Recessional
- Horas, Londres, Volekhs, and Zhoks
- Display Medlodies
- Doynes and Others
- In-Laws Dances
- Hopkes, Mitsve Tantses, and Others
- Slavic, Romanian, and Hungarian Dances
- Polkes, Kolomeykes, and Others
- Farewell Dances
- Dobridens, Dobranotshes, and Others
- Songs in Yiddish
- Pieces for B-flat Instruments
CD Track List
The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook by Yale Strom
Reviewed by Chris Haigh for fiddlingaround.co.uk
If anyone can be called an expert on Klezmer, it's Yale Strom. With ten books, ten CD's, six documentary films, two plays, a symphony, and twenty five research expeditions in central and Eastern Europe to his credit, Yale has clearly dedicated a large part of his life to the study and revival of klezmer in all its forms.
This book opens with a detailed history of klezmer from its earliest roots in the time of the Temple of Jerusalem, through the tortuous history of the Jews in medieval Europe, where not least among the problems musicians faced was the disapproval of their own rabbis. Weddings have always been the central focus of klezmer, and Yale documents the gradually changing role of the musician; "over time the profession of the lets (an all purpose entertainer) evolved into those of the marshalik (master of ceremonies), and the batkhn, the wedding bard. These names were sometimes used interchangeably…it appears that these various occupations gradually melded into that of the klezmer, a term popular from the 18thC through today."
The role of violinist as band leader and emotional focus of the music is examined; "The klezmer violinist was an extension of the khasn's voice", and "the klezmer's ability to imitate the crying, ululating, moaning and laughing cantorial techniques he had heard since he was an infant were shaped into specific klezmer ornamentation" Five dreydlekh or core techniques are described, as well as the four chief modes on which klezmer melodies are constructed.
The claim that this is the "absolutely complete" klezmer songbook may be an exaggeration, but with 313 numbers who's to complain? Henry Sapoznik'sThe CompleatKlezmerhad just 33. The tunes are grouped by type; Processionals, Bulgars, Freylekhs, Horas, Skotshnes, Shers, Nigunimand so on, and they range from tunes known universally in the Jewish world, to rare treasures that he has unearthed on his travels. Thirty six of the tunes are recorded on an accompanying CD and, unusually for a "book cd", these are quality recordings with Yale's violin accompanied by his band Hot Pstromi; the tunes are beautifully arranged and played, making this a proper listening cd in its own right. A second CD, "Absolutely Klezmer Volume 2" is available separately, with a further 17 tunes from the book, this time with longer arrangements and some extended improvisation.
This book is a gem, and with people like Yale Strom behind it, the Klezmer revival is in safe hands.
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