New Budapest Orpheum Society: As Dreams Fall Apart: The Golden Age of Jewish Stage and Film Music 1925-1955

By Alexander, Phil | Yearbook for Traditional Music, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

New Budapest Orpheum Society: As Dreams Fall Apart: The Golden Age of Jewish Stage and Film Music 1925-1955


Alexander, Phil, Yearbook for Traditional Music


New Budapest Orpheum Society: As Dreams Fall Apart: The Golden Age of Jewish Stage and Film Music 1925-1955. Cedille Records CDR 90000 151. Recorded by Bill Maylone. Annotated by Philip V. Bohlman. Produced by Jim Ginsburg. 40-page booklet with notes in English and lyrics in German, Yiddish, Viennese dialect, and English. Translations of lyrics by Philip V. Bohlman and Stewart Figa. Colour and b/w photographs, illustrations. 2 CDs, 12 tracks (44:32) and 18 tracks (51:37). Recorded at Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio at WFMT Chicago.

This is the fourth release from Chicago's New Budapest Orpheum Society, and the third in a series exploring the musical and historical span of Jewish film, stage, and cabaret music of the twentieth century. The collection begins with a familiar Jewish narrative-the tension between material fortune and spiritual essence-as expressed through two well-known numbers ("Maz'l" and "Dos Pintele Yid," made famous by Molly Picon and Boris Thomashefsky, respectively). It ends with three of Friedrich Holländer's songs from Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair, by which time the optimistic "Shores of Utopia"-the first of ten thematic headings-have become the bleak "Ruins of Dystopia," reflecting war's shattered aftermath of black markets and broken illusions. In between, the material moves fluidly across time ("Dreams from Yesterday and Tomorrow"), space (Vienna, Hollywood, Budapest), hope ("Dreams of Stardom"), intoxication ("Rauschtraum" (Smoke dream)) and the trauma of Theresienstadt, where Leo Strauss evokes his namesake to elegize a lost Vienna and Viktor Ullmann provides the recording's starkest moment of musical modernism. …

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