Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Klezmatics & Chava Alberstein: Zayt Gezunt

Health & Wellness

The Klezmatics & Chava Alberstein [born in 1946 in Poland and moved in 1950 to Israel]: Zayt Gezunt (“Be Healthy”) from a poem by H. Levick [1888–1962]. This is the 15th and last  track on the album, Di Krenitse (The Well), released in 1998. To say zayt gezunt is also a way of saying good-bye or farewell, but with the added emphasis on leaving with a good feeling.
Via: Youtube

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ute Lemper: Shtiler, Shtiler (2017)

Shtiler, Shtiler (Quiet, Quiet) is performed here by Ute Lemper [born in 1963 in Münster, West Germany] in Mantova, Italy, which was filmed by RAIU. The site, Music and the Holocaust, says about this song the following interesting tidbit: It was “composed by the 11-year-old Alek Volkoviski [1931–2019; changed last name to Tamir] with lyrics by Shmerke Kaczerginski [1908–1954], was one of the best-loved songs of the Vilna ghetto. The lullaby was first performed in April 1943, at one of the last Jewish Council-organised concerts before the ghetto’s liquidation. The poignant lyrics chronicle the murders taking place at Ponar, a forest near Vilna, and lament the pain and suffering of the ghetto inmates.”
Via: Youtube

Musical Ensemble

Piano: Francesco Lotoro Bass: Giuseppe Bassi Bandoneon: Victor Villena Violin: Daniel Hoffman Clarinet: Andre Campanella Ute Lemper writes about this song's importance, and others like it, as a reference point to history:
Especially as a postwar German native, married to a Jewish man here in NY since 20 years, I am eternally sensitive and tortured by the history of the Holocaust. It is my responsibility and utmost ethical longing to honor the culture of the Jewish people and stimulate the dialog about the terrible past. This is a mission that I have adopted already in 1987 when I became the protagonist of the big recordings series on DECCA "Entartete Music" that presented the Jewish composers and their music catalog banned by the Nazies. With SONGS FOR ETERNITY this mission continues and finds its most touching extension. I am overwhelmed by the stories behind each of the songs.
I studied a most unique book, a song collection by Vevel Pasternak from 1948, that gathers heartbreaking songs from the Ghettos and Concentration Camps as well as the songbook of Ilse Weber, finally published by her husband in Israel in the 90s long after he survived Auschwitz. Both music collections were given to me by my dear friend Orly Beigel who is half Mexican, half Israeli and a child of a Holocaust Survivor.
In 2015 I met Francesco Lotoro in Rome. He had dedicated many years to the research of music written in the concentration camps. It was an honor to present some of his collections with him playing the piano at our concerts.
It is an honor to share it with you.

Shtiler, Shtiler
by Shmerke Kaczerginski & Alexander Volkoviski (Tamir)

Shtiler, shtiler, lomir shvaygn
Kvorim vaksn do.
S'hobn zey farflantst si sonim:
Grinen zey tsum blo.
S'firn vegn tsu ponar tsu,
S'firt keyn veg tsurik,
Iz der tate vu farshvundn
Un mit im dos glik.
Shtiler, kind mayns, veyn nit, oytser,
S'helft nit keyn geveyn,
Undzer umglik veln sonim
Say vi nit farshteyn.
S'hobn breges oykh di yamen,
S'hobn oykhet tfises tsamen,
Nor tsu undzer payn
Keyn bisl shayn.
Friling afn land gekumen,
Un undz harbst gebrakht.
Iz der tog haynt ful mit blumen,
Undz zet nor di nakht.
Goldikt shoyn der harbst af shtamen,
Blit in undz der tsar,
Blaybt faryosemt vu a mame,
S'kind geyt af ponar.
Vi di vilye a geshmidte
T'oykh geyokht in payn,
Tsien kries ayz durkh lite
Glaykh in yam arayn.
S'vert der khoyshekh vu tserunen
Fun der fintster layktn zunen
Rayter, kum geshvind
Dikh ruft dayn kind.
Shtiler, shtiler, s'kveln kvaln
Undz in harts arum.
Biz der toyer vet nit faln
Muzn mir zayn shtum.
Frey nit, kind, zikh, s'iz dayn shmeykhl
Itst far undz farrat,
Zol dem friling zen der soyne
Vi in harbst a blat.
Zol der kval zikh ruik flisn
Shtiler zay un hof…
Mit der frayheyt kumt der tate
Shlof zhe,kind mayn, shlof.
Vi der vilye a bafrayte,

Vi di baymer grin banayte
Laykht bald frayheyts-likht
Af dayn gezikht,
Af dayn gezikht.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Shpielberg: Arum Dem Fayer

Shpielberg performs Arum Dem Fayer (“Around the Campfire”) featuring  the voices of Svetlana Kundish and Mendy Cahan. Shpielberg is Daniel Hoffman (violin), Tal Kuhn (contrabass), Eli Preminger (trumpet), Yair Salzman (drums), and Ira Shiran (accordion). This is a traditional Yiddish song.
Via: Youtube

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Eric Clapton: Over the Rainbow (2001)

Eric Clapton: Over the Rainbow (2001) playing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in August 2001. Joining him onstage are Billy Preston, Andy Fairweather Low, Steve Gadd, Nathan East and Dave Sancious playing together a song about future possibilities of security and safety, which seems so appropriate today, when so many share the same dreams and hopes. You can see and listen to the original by Judy Garland, in The Wizard of Oz (1939) [here].  This song was composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg. For more about this song and its meaning then and now, go [here]. “Some place where there isn't any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain...”
Via: Youtube

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Watching the Geese


A Canada Goose in Tarrytown, NY: In an article in The New York Times, James Gorman writes about the benefits of watching geese, which is something our family has been doing for years. Yes, the geese do provide entertainment and a respite from the coronavirus news. Gorman writes: “What gladdens my heart about geese, and helps fend off the virus blues, is their complete self-absorption. They really don’t care about much outside of goose life. It’s very satisfying to listen to them honking away as usual, crowding together without a worry in the world. And they do like crowds.” I can say as a long-time watcher of geese that all this is true.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Confronting Coronavirus (2020)

Community Health

Confronting Coronavirus is a PBS-TV Newshour special on what we are all now facing. It writes: “Novel coronavirus has, in just a few months, grown into a full-blown pandemic. It has stressed governments and health systems around the globe, ended an era of economic expansion and reshaped public life.” I think it bears saying that it is in our best interests to listen to the scientists and experts of public health. Listen. Learn. Do. Repeat. The situation is in flux; as the experts share with the public more of what they are finding out through science, they share it with us both through government officials and through responsible media. Thus, in this process of information transmission, we are learning more about the virus and Covid-19 and how best to respond. I trust the information transmitted is valid and good. I have no reason not to. We will not give up; we will persevere; and we will endure. We are truly in this together—all of us. This science-based show (approx 1 hr) aired on Thursday March 19th 2020
Via: PBS-TV & Youtube

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Metropolitan Opera Offers Free Viewing of Past Operas


The Metropolitan Opera Offers Free Viewing of Past Operas
Courtesy & Credit: Metropolitan Opera 

Opera fans, rejoice. The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is making your stay at home more bearable and enjoyable. This famed institution writes:
During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.
The performances are being made available through the Met Opera on Demand streaming service, and are also accessible through Met Opera on Demand apps on all of your favorite devices.
It started off the week with Monday's showcasing of Bizet’s Carmen, Tuesday's of Puccini’s La Bohème, and Wednesday's of Verdi’s Il Trovatore.


Sunday, March 22
Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin Starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 24, 2007.

Week 2: Wagner Week

Monday, March 23
Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde Starring Nina Stemme, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stuart Skelton, Evgeny Nikitin, and René Pape, conducted by Simon Rattle. From October 8, 2016.

Tuesday, March 24
Wagner’s Das Rheingold Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer, Stephanie Blythe, Richard Croft, Gerhard Siegel, Dwayne Croft, Bryn Terfel, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. From October 9, 2010.

Wednesday, March 25
Wagner’s Die Walküre Starring Deborah Voigt, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Stephanie Blythe, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. From May 14, 2011.

Thursday, March 26
Wagner’s Siegfried Starring Deborah Voigt, Jay Hunter Morris, Gerhard Siegel, Bryn Terfel, and Eric Owens, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From November 5, 2011.

Friday, March 27
Wagner’s GötterdämmerungStarring Deborah Voigt, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Waltraud Meier, Jay Hunter Morris, Iain Paterson, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From February 11, 2012.

Saturday, March 28
Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Starring Annette Dasch, Johan Botha, Paul Appleby, and Michael Volle, conducted by James Levine. From December 13, 2014.

Sunday, March 29
Wagner’s Tannhäuser Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Michelle DeYoung, Johan Botha, Peter Mattei, and Gunther Groissböck, conducted by James Levine. From October 31, 2015.

This was made possible by benefactors like The Neubauer Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Jacqueline Desmarais in Memory of Paul D. Desmarais Sr and Toll Brothers.

To access these wonderful performances and for more, go [here].

Yo Yo Ma: Dvořák’s Going Home


Yo Yo Ma [born in 1955 in Paris, France] performs Antonin Dvořák’s Going Home as part of his #SongsofComfort, a beautiful artistic gesture during this pandemic. Going Home is part of the second movement, the main theme from the Largo of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World," Op. 95, B. 178, which the Czech composer wrote soon after arriving in America in 1893. After three years in America (1892–1895), Dvořák did return home. For more, go to PBS Newshour [here], where Jeffrey Brown interviews Yo Yo Ma on March 18th 2020. There is something comforting about this piece. Music does soothe the soul. Thank you, Mr. Ma.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A Visit to Mill Pond (March 2020)

Natural Beauty

My right arm is healing nicely, and I decided that now I am ready to return to my blog. Like many others, I have been busy reading much about the Covid 19 pandemic caused by the cororovirus, SARS-CoV-2, knowing that it is serious and it is prudent to heed the advice of public health experts. Like many other places in the world, Ontario declared a state of emergency (March 17) and instituted community measures, such as handwashing, surface cleaning, avoiding crowds of greater than 50 persons  and “social distancing,” to help “flatten the curve.”

While I have not noticed much fear or panic in people that I have been in contact with, I have noticed a healthy level of concern among my fellow Canadians. Will life return to normal, to the way it was before?  What changes can we make? should we make? What can we as a society of humans learn from pandemics? There is the future and there is the present—the here and now. What do we do today in the here and now? We spend time with the people that we love and care about. We talk, we listen, we think, we read and we reflect. We help others as we help ourselves. We also mourn our losses.

Consider this thought. We will persevere, we will overcome and we will endure, and it will be over--the pandemic--but life will not be the same. It cannot be, since so much has changed in such a short period of time. It will not be "business as usual," and for very good reasons, including that business as usual has not been good for most. We can do better; and this pandemic shows us not only why but also how through the actions of front-line workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, police, cleaners, sanitation persons, delivery drivers, grocery store and pharmacy cashiers and shelf stockers, pharmacists and the many men and women who keep the supply chain functioning by coming to work daily.

We thank also our government officials and political leaders, like our prime minister, our premier and our mayor, for doing their job, our public health officials and our scientists and researchers for diligently working on prevention and on a vaccine. So many people helping us out. All of us in this together. This is what I often think about.

When there is time to think, there is also time to observe and come to some important conclusions about this life that we value. This life, our life, has undoubtedly slowed down, many buildings closed, including schools, libraries, government offices, places of business, restaurants and retail outlets; and as a result, we are spending more time indoors with our families, although there is no current ban here on going to parks and other places of nature. Two weeks ago, we went to Mill Pond to take in a bit of nature, to view the Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and the mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) doing what they naturally do. I share these photos with you on what is now the third day of Spring.

All Photos: ©2020. Perry J. Greenbaum