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Re: In defense of the recorder

-- Budowitz Home Page:

Indeed there were Jewish guilds all over eastern Europe and what today is
Germany. Documents exist as early as the 16th century. Mr Hescheles said
that the guild (called "tekh") which served his town (Gliniany) was quite
strict, though I haven't heard or read that these restrictions involved the
instrumentation of kapelyes. Beregovsky writes that there were czarist
restrictions in the Ukraine for a time which had such restrictions, but that
is definitely not the guild, but rather the government.

here is an excerpt from the lined notes of our new CD regarding one
conversation I had with Mr. Hescheles:

This piece was attributed to a shalosh sudes tune, the third and last meal
of shabbes, eaten Saturday evening. It was probably played by the leader of
the Gliner Kapelye of Gliniany, Pesakhye Wolf, who was the uncle of the
famous klezmer violinist (formerly trumpet player) Beresh Katz. Beresh
recorded the piece in 1927 with the Boibriker Kapelle, led by the violinist,
Hersh Gross, in New York.  ³Back in Gliniany, Beresh wouldn¹t have dared to
play it, because in the tekh [guild], Pesakhye would have had a khasuke [a
hold, or rights] on that tune. That means it would have been considered
Pesakhye¹s tune. But when Beresh came to America, he and his kapelye
[ensemble] remembered it and played it, because they were no longer under
the jurisdiction of the tekh there...²

The text to Budowitz Mother tongue also deals with guilds and we have had
previous discussions about this on the list. It points to a fact that the
whole economic and social structure of klezmer music was probably much more
sophisticated than we portray it today...Josh

>>Guilds held control over the composition of kapelyes.
> What?  Who?  Where?  Maybe music directors in the Warsaw theater made
> formal exclusions, and this still needs to be checked if its true, but no
> such guilds existed in towns and villages.  You can not find take one
> little fact and rip it out of its context to make general, sweeping
> statements this way.
> Reyzl Kalifowicz-Waletzky
> ----------
> From:  Matt Jaffey [SMTP:mjaffey2 (at) mum(dot)edu]
> Sent:  Friday, March 24, 2000 10:12 AM
> To:  World music from a Jewish slant
> Subject:  Re: In defense of the recorder
> Regarding suitability of an instrument for playing klezmer - of course,
> tastes change. I have been told that, at the time when brass instruments
> were being introduced in kapelyes in the Ukraine, they were being
> rigorously excluded from kapelyes in the more conservative Poland, where
> guilds held control over the composition of kapelyes. Not only that, all
> but the very best of clarinetists were also being excluded in Poland. So
> for them, brass, and most clarinet playing, were considered unsuitable.
> This is supposedly from Mr. Hescheles. If anyone has more definitive info
> on this, I'd be happy to hear about it.
> Hope Ehn wrote:
> <<While many recorders, including good plastic ones, do have a coupling
> between pitch and volume, expensive wooden recorders do have the capacity
> to change volume without changing pitch.>>
> Perhaps a coupling between pitch and volume need not be considered a
> liability when playing klezmer. Last summer, I attended a workshop intended
> to show how Hassidic singing practice could inform klezmer performance.
> Amongst the more obvious things were how some klezmer ornaments are
> intended to imitate the human voice. It was also pointed out that untrained
> voices singing nigunim tended to naturally rise in volume and intensity as
> pitch rose, whereas, voice training has as one goal to smooth out volume,
> and musical instruments (such as the clarinets and violins at the workshop)
> tend to have a much wider range of pitch without appreciable affect on
> volume. It was interesting to attempt to imitate untrained voice on the
> violin, by moving the bow away from the bridge when descending a scale, and
> toward the bridge when ascending, or by using less and more bow etc. Of
> course this would have to be integrated into a whole repertoire of possible
> tools, and always with an eye toward playing musically. But maybe this
> would actually be easier on the recorder?
> Regarding the overall volume of a recorder being "too quiet", I have been
> surprised by how well some recorders can carry, for example, I've seen a
> recorder successfully used in an outdoor setting, as a primary melodic
> instrument for dancing, with other activities going on in the vicinity.
> Matt

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