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By Philip Bohlman

Is there quite the sort of factor as Jewish song? and the way does it live on as a tradition of worship and cultural expression even within the face of the various brutal aesthetic and political demanding situations of modernity? In Jewish tune and Modernity, Philip V. Bohlman imparts those questions with a brand new mild that transforms the very historiography of Jewish tradition in modernity.

Based on many years of fieldwork and archival research in the course of the international, Bohlman intensively examines the various ways that track has traditionally borne witness to the war of words among smooth Jews and the realm round them. Weaving a historic narrative that spans from the top of the center a long time to the Holocaust, he strikes throughout the significant confluence of musical types and repertories. From the sacred and to the secular, from people to renowned track, and within the many languages during which it was once written and played, he debts for components of Jewish tune that experience hardly been thought of earlier than. Jewish track, argues Bohlman, either survived in isolation and remodeled the international locations during which it lived. while Jews and Jewish musicians entered modernity, authenticity turned an excellent to be supplanted by means of the truth of complicated traditions. Klezmer tune emerged in rural groups cohabited via Jews and Roma; Jewish cabaret resulted from the collaborations of migrant Jews and non-Jews to the nineteenth-century metropoles of Berlin and Budapest, Prague and Vienna; cantors and composers experimented with new sounds. The modernist impulse from Felix Mendelssohn to Gustav decide to Arnold Schoenberg and past grew to become attainable end result of the methods song juxtaposed aesthetic and cultural changes.

Jewish tune and Modernity demonstrates how borders among repertories are crossed and the sound of modernity is enriched by way of the stream of track and musicians from the peripheries to the heart of contemporary tradition. Bohlman eventually demanding situations readers to event the fashionable disagreement of self and different anew.

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It is a music that belongs to a single place, a village or region with its distinctive musical and linguistic dialects. It is no less the music of many places, Jewish because of the ways it signifies an otherness of place and time. Historically, portals of entrance and exit to the town, intersected by the Judengasse, the small street along which Jews lived and located their shops, marked the geography of boundaries and peripheries. Building a synagogue was possible at the edge of town. The Jewish cemetery by necessity lay just beyond the edge of town.

Individual songs and cohesive repertories conformed to local needs, but they also spread across Central and East Central Europe. The Jewish village fostered the conditions for a much more extensive, diasporic musical world, in which, for example, it was possible to find vocal practices in Western Europe that bore remarkable similarities to those in Eastern Europe. The Jewish village, in both its rural and its cosmopolitan forms, thus provided the foundations for a European Jewish folk music. The foundations might support common repertories of a Jewish vocal vernacular, “folk songs of Ashkenaz,” or they might spill over into the cosmopolitan imaginary, as in Jewish popular music at the turn of the twentieth century (see chapter 7) and the klezmer revival at the turn of the twenty-first (see Epilogue).

The primary specialist in the religious musical life was the h·azzan. ) were relatively mobile, often coming from outside the village and negotiating at times for salaries that would prevent them from accepting other posts (see Wachstein 1926). H · azzanim and cantors also enjoyed wide prestige. The h·azzan of the Alsatian village Wintzenheim, in the mid-nineteenth century, for example, was the only Jewish resident who spoke French as his exclusive vernacular language. This linguistic limitation, however, did not segregate the h·azzan into an outsider in the village, but rather elevated him to the status of the local intellectual, further serving him well as a teacher in the Jewish school (Stauben 1986: 49 and 60–61).

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