The Free-Reed Review
Critiques of Compact Discs, Books and Music Scores

CD Review: Various Artists

Klezmer Music
A Marriage of Heaven and Earth


Gasn nign: Alicia Svigals
Mazltov: The Chicago Klezmer Ensemble
Hongu and Freylekhs from Podoloy: Di Naye Kapelye
A glezele vayn: La'om
Badekns nign: Andy Statman
Pehusher khusid: Budowitz
Wedding Suite: Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer
Nokh an anderer alter bulgar: Ray Musiker and the Klezmatics
Dveykus nign: Andy Statman
Patsh tants: The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band
The Black Wedding: Naftule's Dream
Rufn di kinder aheym: Brave Old World

Total Time: 58:04
Released in 1996

label: Elipsis arts (CD 4090)
20 Lumber Road
Roslyn, NY 11576
Phone: 516-621-272
FAX: 516-621-2750

Review by Henry Doktorski:

Last Saturday, I played accordion at a Jewish wedding with Cleveland violinist Steven Greenman. While driving to the gig I happened to mention that I had just received something really terrific in the mail to review. I explained that at first, I thought it was simply a book, albeit a beautiful 64 page hardcover book with thirty-one exquisite photographs from 1900 to the present -- many in color -- chock full of wonderful articles and essays, all based on the theme of a Jewish wedding. I explained to Steve that it was not until I got to the the very end of the book, that I discovered a compact disc tucked away within an envelope where the back page should be!

"Very clever!" I thought, until I read the name of the producer: Michal Shapiro of Planet Squeezebox fame. She has done it again -- another exceptional production to her credit.

At that point, my friend exclaimed, "Oh, the album has been released! I played on that album with the European Klezmer group Budowitz. Would you believe our accordionist plays on an authentic 19th-century instrument? In fact, next month I leave for Europe to play with them on tour."

Sure enough, when I arrived home I looked through the book and found Steve's picture; with a shorter haircut, perhaps, but Steven Greenman no-less.

I was delighted with this album and I think you will be also. The concept is ingenious. "Klezmer Music -- A Marriage of Heaven and Earth" is structured around the theme of a Jewish wedding, and each artist has written commentary on the performance they chose to contribute. The album opens with a procession to the wedding ceremony, followed by a piece played for the greeting of guests, dances, wedding music, the march to the canopy and the procession from the canoy, music played at the tables of celebrating guests, etc. The album closes with the processional escorting the in-laws home.

The performances range from traditional renditions of classic songs by the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble and Budowitz to modern pop and contemporary arrangements by the Flying Bulgar Band and Naftule's Dream. Truly a memorable album/book for connoiseurs of fine folk music.

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