Passover 2014

By , April 1, 2014 8:57 am

Why is this holiday different from all others?

Passover Mix

On this holiday, we celebrate the gift of freedom, we remember Jewish history through special Seder foods and  we teach the lessons of the haggadah to the next generation. The Judaica Sound Archives invites you to  add music and song to  your family’s Passover traditions.

The Judaica Sound Archives has compiled a mix of Passover songs that the whole family can enjoy.  From Cantorial splendor to children’s play-songs, music expresses the heart of the Jewish people. Give Jewish music a special place in your home for the  holidays. All the songs  in this compilation can be heard all year long on the JSA website.

You may also enjoy the following albums:

 

 

 

Cantor Joseph Gross

By , March 10, 2014 11:41 am

Cantor Joseph Gross is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about Jewish liturgy, Cantorial music, Cantorial voices and the history of the Cantorate in North America.

A delightful gentleman who has stored  a lifetime of learning into his diminutive frame, Cantor Joseph Gross showed up at the Judaica Sound Archives a little over three years ago wondering if he could be of any help. His warmth and his big smile took us in immediately.  But what captivated us was his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Cantorial and liturgical.

As he spoke I could not help but think that he has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever know on the topic. But as he continued, I realized that he is blessed with almost perfect recall.  Not much seems to have been forgotten at all. You may have heard of people with photographic memories, but Cantor Gross is the only person I have ever met with “phonographic  memory,” i.e. he can recall voice and music impeccably.

A master cantor and composer, Joseph Gross has been a regular volunteer at the JSA for over three years now. Several of our Cantorial music restoration projects have been possible only with his guidance and help.

The JSA has created three albums from the original tape recordings of Cantor Gross.  These recordings are not available anywhere else and have never been commercially released.  They were restored under the vigilant supervision of the Cantor himself.

 

 

Kultur 2014

By , February 10, 2014 10:46 am

 March 1 – 8, 2014

6th Annual Kultur Celebration

Click here for full schedule and more information

                                                      

                    Florida Atlantic University Libraries

 

Festival Highlights

Saturday, March 1, 2014 @ 7:00 p.m

Film: “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness”

Chock full of  humor, this documentary film explores the rebellious life of Sholem Aleichem as he experiences the tug of war between nostalgia and a modern Jewish identity.

 

Sunday, March 2, 2014 @ 3:00 p.m.

Klezmer Company Orchestra — ¡Jubano Jazz!

Energetic arrangements of Klezmer melodies fused with Latin percussion, Argentinean Tango and Afro-Cuban dance beats and revitalized classic songs from the Yiddish theatre.

 

 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 @ 2:00 p.m.
Martin Bookspan Reminisces: My famous musical friends

Renowned PBS commentator of Live from Lincoln Center, Martin Bookspan is also a noted author,  and the well-known host for live radio broadcasts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. He shares personal stories and photographs about his friendships with legends such as Serge Koussevitzky, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Jan Pierce, Richard Tucker and Michael Tilson Thomas. Presented in conjunction with the Judaica Sound Archives.

 

Thursday, March 6, 2014 @ 2:00 p.m.

Leonard Lehrman, pianist and Helene Williams, soprano, return to Kultur Festival with guest cantors from New York City: soprano Faith Steinsnyder and tenor David Perper performing a unique concert of “Jewish Opera” in various languages. Highlights include excerpts of Halévy’s famous La Juive, Spektor’s Lady of the Castle, Mandelbaum’s The Village, Blitzstein/Lehrman’s Tales of Malamud, and arias by Goldfaden.

Exploring the world of Jewish recordings

By , January 15, 2014 3:35 pm

Indiana Jones: “We do not follow maps to buried treasure and X never, ever marks the spot.” (Last Crusade)

Dr. Randall Goldberg, Asst. Prof of Music History at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University in Ohio has been digging for “treasure” at the Judaica Sound Archives at the Wimberly Library on FAU’s Boca Raton campus.

He has no map and so far has not discovered a spot marked with an “X.” But he has spent weeks tirelessly searching at FAU’s Judaica Sound Archives through thousands of 78 rpm recordings for information about how Jewish identity was expressed in 20th-century music. Like Indiana Jones, Randy Goldberg feels like he is on a quest. Allowing his intellectual curiosity to lead him on a fantastic journey back in time, he relishes finding little known tid-bits of information.

Prof. Goldberg crouches between the stacks to check the record numbers he is looking for.

“For me the passion is in the records.  There is a childish love that I have for it. I used to watch Indiana Jones films and that is the sense of adventure I have. I am always looking for some hidden treasure whether it is here at FAU’s Judaica Sound Archives or in an old record store in Pittsburgh.”

“Jewish musicians have a cool niche. I love to find weird mash-ups, like Chassidic disco albums or Jewish sacred music set to a Carribean beat.”

Prof. Goldberg  doesn’t find the enormity of the JSA collection to be overwhelming.  Quite the opposite.  “Just being being here and being immersed in the entirety of this whole thing. It fuels my enthusiasm and my passion for my research project.” he says.

Dr. Goldberg checks the information on the actual record label to ensure the correctness of his database.

Dr. Goldberg spends his time searching through the JSA’s database, locating the recordings that he is interested in and then entering information about those recordings into his laptop for use later in his research. It might seem like tedious work to some but Dr. Goldberg seems more like a “kid in a candy shop” than anything else.

JSA: “You seem to be having a good time visiting us and working here.”

GOLDBERG: “I love doing this. And the beautiful Florida weather isn’t bad either.  Back home in Ohio there are 12″ of snow on the ground!”

Dr. Goldberg achieved a BM in classical guitar performance at the University of Texas at Austin and a MM in musical performance at the New England Conservatory. He earned his doctorate at Indiana University. He is an Assistant Professor of Music History at Youngstown State University, College of Creative Arts and Communication, Dana School of Music. He  specializes in the music and music literature of early modern Europe.  In addition to teaching courses, Dr. Goldberg directs the Youngstown State University Early Music Ensemble and is the president of the Allegheny Chapter of the American Musicological Society.

RebbeSoul: Jewish roots, world music

By , January 14, 2014 10:04 am

Deeply emotional and rooted in the ancient songs of Judaism, the music of RebbeSoul brings a modern vibe that re-imagines the music of our ancestors. This is not your grandmother’s Jewish Music.  This is not some crazy mash-up of eclectic sounds.  This is spiritually-based music with modern sensibilities and a deep respect for the past.

After earning a degree in engineering, Bruce Burger (aka RebbeSoul)set off to explore L.A.’s music scene.

Leaving parental expectations and  upstate New York’s brilliant autumns and wintry snows behind him,  it was in L.A. that he finally found his sound….and his voice.

At the age of 22, after sharing a Shabbat dinner with an Orthodox family he was inspired to write “Sister Sarah.”  Despite having been a secular Jew for many years, this experience touched him so deeply that he was moved to take on the name RebbeSoul.

As he added the melodies of nigunim and prayers to his repertoire he made a decision. “Every time I play as RebbeSoul, I put something on my head….To the great Rebbes, a nigun, a melody, is something that comes from the heart and goes straight to heaven without anything getting in the way.  So when I do it, I want to make sure there is something on my head, out of respect.”

To strengthen his connection to the Jewish people even further, Burger made aliya in 2007. Now residing in Zichron Ya’acov, he is exploring his musical roots and enjoying where his musical journey is taking him.

The Judaica Sound Archives at FAU’s Wimberly Library is delighted to be able to add Bruce Burger as our newest JSA featured performer. Click on any album below.

 

Fiddler on the Roof

By , December 17, 2013 8:00 am

You may ask yourself… how did a Yiddish story by Sholem Aleichem, based on a surrealistic painting by Marc Chagal, become one of the world’s most popular shows?

You may ask yourself…. how could a 1964 Broadway musical touch audiences after 50 years?

But, of course…. if you know “Fiddler on the Roof” you wouldn’t have to ask!

“The Fiddler,” as depicted by Marc Chagal, symbolizes the struggle for survival and balance in a precarious world.  A precarious world?  That is something Jews know a little something about.

From Tevye’s confident reliance on “Tradition” to the sweet naiveté of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker;” from Tevye’s ultimate acceptance of his life in “If I Were a Rich Man”  to the bitter-sweet realization that life is an ever-changing landscape in “Sunrise, Sunset;” the collaboration of Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) touches our hearts with one of life’s greatest lessons.

We yearn for stability and tradition while, at the same time, we are compelled to adapt to change.

The Judaica Sound Archives at FAU Libraries is proud of its role in preserving the traditions of Jewish culture despite our ever-changing world. Please consider making a financial contribution to help us fulfill our mission.

Click here to see albums and hear snippets.

Thanksgivukkah 2013

By , November 18, 2013 9:07 am

The last time it happened was in 1888. Chanukah and Thanksgiving…..at the same time!

Some might call it “Thanksgivukkah.”   But whatever you call it, you can be sure that it won’t happen again for tens of thousands of years to come.

This year American Jews may be enjoying crispy, hot latkes with their Thanksgiving turkey. Sounds like a delicious combo to me. Yummmm.

Yet, despite this year’s rare opportunity to celebrate a double dose of survival and gratitude, some things will always remain the same. The Story of Chanukah reaches back in time way past the struggling Pilgrims on New England’s rocky coast. It reaches back to 167 BCE when the Syrian king Antiochus desecrated the Temple and outlawed Jewish practices. The five sons of the Jewish priest, Mattithius, were incited to revolt. Chanukah celebrates their victory and the miracle of the light that lasted for eight days during the Temple’s  re-dedication.

This year the Judaica Sound Archives has created a special Chanukah Sing-a-long video featuring one of the songs sung by Gladys Gewirtz from Menorah’s “Chanukah Song Parade” album. Menorah Records which produced phonograph recordings during the 1940s and 1950s was a pioneer in producing recordings for Jewish children.

Can “Boardwalk Empire” era Jewish piano rolls still find an audience?

By , October 14, 2013 8:35 am

Vintage Jewish piano roll boxes

Player pianos, pianolas and piano rolls were all the rage during Prohibition. 

By the early 1920′s new advances in piano-roll technology gave rise to a complex, performance-oriented style of music that became the soundtrack of an era.

All types of music were recorded on piano rolls, from Ragtime  to folk songs; from Jazz to Cantorial masterpieces. So….can these “Boardwalk Empire” era Jewish piano rolls still find an audience in today’s  fast-paced electronic world?

Can these relics of another age resonate with a modern audience?

The Judaica Sound Archives at FAU Libraries invited Bob Berkman, one of the last great piano roll aficionados, to demonstrate his skills before a live audience….and…..his appearance was a huge success!

Yet, relatively few people have ever had the pleasure of  attending  a live pianola concert featuring Bob Berkman and his authentic piano rolls.

A wonderful opportunity

Bob Berkman

Now the JSA is giving you the chance to peek behind the scenes, get a front row seat and enjoy the experience of a by-gone era.

These clips were created from video taken at Bob Berkman’s performance during FAU Library’s 2013 kultur festival by Alethea Perez, FAU Recorded Sound Archives operations coordinator.

(1) Bob Berkman explains how the pianola works.

(2) Bob Berkman sets up the pianola.

(3) Bob Berkman shares some historical facts about the pianola and plays some tunes.

Related Links:  Bio     Online Collection

 

 

Pianola pushed up to piano and ready to play.

 

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Sophie Tucker: Last of the Red-Hot Mamas

By , September 16, 2013 10:00 am

 

Known as the Last of the Red Hot Mamas, Sophie Tucker had a career that began in vaudeville, embraced the new jazz age of the 1920’s and lasted well into the 1960s.

Widely known for her bawdy humor (which may seem tame by today’s standards) and her big personality, she never lost touch with her Jewish roots.

Sophie Tucker ‘s original Decca rendition of My Yiddishe Momme, recorded in 1928, featured an English version on Side A and a Yiddish version on Side B.  Among the recordings she made on the Mercury label beginning in the 1950s was this rendition of My Mother’s Sabbath Candles, also in both English and Yiddish versions.

Sophie Tucker quotes

I couldn’t make [Momme] understand that it wasn’t a career that I was after. It was just that I wanted a life that didn’t mean spending most of it at the cookstove and the kitchen sink. (Some of the Days, 1945)

Everyone knew the theater was to be closed down, and a landmark in show business would be gone. That feeling got into the acts. The whole place, even the performers, stank of decay. I seemed to smell it. It challenged me. I was determined to give the audience the idea: why brood over yesterday? We have tomorrow. As I sang I could feel the atmosphere change. The gloom began to lift, the spirit which formerly filled the Palace and which made it famous among vaudeville houses the world over came back. That’s what an entertainer can do. (Concerning the November 19, 1932 closing of the Palace theater in NYC, i.e. the end of vaudeville.)

Selected items from our collection of Sophie Tucker recordings.

Sophie Tucker’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Autographed inside flap from copy of Tucker’s autobiography

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High Holy Days in a Conservative Synagogue

By , August 22, 2013 12:59 pm

 

5774     A new year.  In case you haven’t noticed…the world is changing.

I’ve heard it a thousand times, “things just aren’t the way they used to be!”

The future is unpredictable. Like a wind storm moving things helter-skelter, we never know where things will end up.

The past, on the other hand, is well-known and stable. The values, traditions and  perspectives of our parents, grandparents and ancestors do not change. We may cherish the past or we may discard it.  You get to choose.

Ask yourself, “What happens to the past when you are no longer around to remember it?” Does it disappear? Or does it remain as a treasure trove of discovery for  future generations?

High Holy Days in the Conservative Synagogue  sung by Cantor Moshe Schwimmer is just one example  of how the Judaica Sound Archives attempts to bring the unique qualities of early 20th century European liturgical music into the present. And, hopefully, the future.

This wonderful recording was created by the JSA from the private recordings of Cantor Moshe Schwimmer and can only be heard on this website. Moshe Schwimmer was a cantor whose beautiful voice and soulful singing touched audiences for decades. Yet, his voice might have been lost forever were it not for one man’s strong desire to cherish his brother’s memory and protect his legacy.

Zalman Schwimmer (a.k.a. Sydney), personally hand-carried his brother’s private tape recordings (along with some memorabilia and biographical information) to the Wimberly Library on Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus. He told us about his brother, “He never made any commercial recordings.  That wasn’t for him. He didn’t want to be famous. He didn’t try to please others.  He was just always striving for perfection.”

The Judaica Sound Archives is proud of its role in the preservation of Jewish culture. We believe that by bringing the unique qualities of early 20th century European liturgical music into the present we contribute to its survival into the future.

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