Discovering Russia 1910-1940, Vol. 2: The New Jewish School

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The history of the 20th century was shaped to an extreme degree by ideological, political and racial barriers that hindered the arts from developing freely. Many artists were forced to emigrate, while others perished in death camps. Those who remained and survived were often cut off from the outside world, forced to adjust, or were silenced into submission. And this was by no means restricted to individual names: entire groups of artists and genres of art were eradicated and are no longer present in cultural life. With its series “Across Boundaries – Discovering Russia 1910–1940,” eda records seeks to bridge one such a gap in music history. It presents world premiere recordings of works by Russian composers who were part of the generation of Prokofiev and Shostakovich and who made major contributions to Russian music in the 1910s and 1920s. The reason why they were banished and suppressed: their Jewish ethnic background and refusal to accept the dictated “socialist realism.”
Vol. 2 of the series puts the spotlight on the Russian-Jewish avant-garde and its dealings with Jewish folk and synagogal music: Lazare Saminsky (1882–1958), Joseph Achron (1886–1943), and Alexander Weprik (1899–1958) were considered the porte-paroles of the St. Petersburg “New Jewish School.” All three of them were involved in the Society for Jewish Folk Music founded in 1908. They developed a Jewish style along national lines which integrated elements of Jewish liturgical musical and folklore into European concert forms. The development of an independent Jewish identity in art music at the beginning of the 20th century was closely connected to the intellectual development of Polish and Russian Jewry. The idea of the national rebirth had a stimulating and motivational effect on Jewish culture in the Russian Empire ever since the 1880s. The Society for Jewish Folk Music was closely involved with this Jewish national movement in all areas of culture, and was influenced by cultural Zionist ideas. The artistic success of the colorful, nuanced and touching music of the “New Jewish School” did not last long – Stalinism and National Socialism quickly put an end to the movement.
Item number EDA 14
Barcode 4015380001420
Release date 5/1/1999
Category Classical Music
Label EDA Records
Number of units 1
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