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The Vernadsky Archive of Jewish Music
- From: Lori M Simon <lorelecs...>
- Subject: The Vernadsky Archive of Jewish Music
- Date: Tue 23 Mar 2004 00.51 (GMT)
I think many of you will find this interesting and important. From the
Date: Mrch 22, 2004
From: vlad_krash (at) ipnet(dot)kiev(dot)ua
Subject: The Vernadsky Archive of Jewish Music
Over the years 'Mendele' has from time to time touched on the subject of
extensive sound archive of Jewish musical folklore housed in Kiev in the
Vernadsky National Library of the Ukraine. At the centre of this sound
archive lie the An-ski expedition recordings made in Belarus, Volhynia
Podolia between 1912 and 1914 and the legendary Beregovski archive of
recordings made in the Ukraine in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
Readers may be aware that in recent years two 'experimental' promotional
CDs containing sample recordings taken from the archive have been in
circulation. I wish to inform readers that these two CDs are now readily
available on a normal commercial basis to anyone who wishes to purchase a
copy. In addition to this, however, I wish to inform readers of a far
important development which will have long-term repercussions in the
of Yiddish studies and of Jewish music.
It has been decided to release the entire sound archive commercially on a
series of CDs.
In total the entire 'scientific edition' will comprise between 50 and 100
discs (at this stage it is impossible to be more accurate) and will be
presented in accordance with the highest scholarly standards - the whole
project is being carried out under the general supervision of Lyudmila
Sholokhova who was formerly music librarian of the Jewish section of the
Vernadsky Library and is currently working at the YIVO library in New
The discs will be available not just to academic institutions and the
but to the general public as well. We estimate that it will take 5-7
years for the entire edition to be issued.
All future discs will be released in the CD-Extra format and will have an
anticipated average running time of around 40-50 minutes. In addition to
sound tracks, the discs will contain scans of all the music sheets and
archival documents relating to the recordings on the disc. Perhaps I
explain that CDs in the CD-Extra format are CDs that carry both sound and
text/images. The sound tracks can be played back on a normal CD player or
a PC with a sound system. If they are played on a PC, you can also
the text and images.
Each disc represents a mine of hitherto inaccessible source material
recorded on location in the shtetls of Belarus, Volhynia, Podolia and
elsewhere at a time when Yiddish was still a vibrant and thriving
The material about to be made available is absolutely unique and of
musical, linguistic and historical interest. For example, from a musical
point of view the complete CD edition will contain not only hundreds of
field recordings of Yiddish folk and theatre songs, work songs, klezmer
music and other items but also the most extensive collection of
of Hasidic melodies ever put together and, what is more, recorded in the
very heartland of Hasidism.
The first two discs in the new series are devoted to recordings made in
Belarus and the Ukraine by the folklorist Zinovy Kisselgoff between 1913
1935 and will be available very shortly - probably within the next 2 - 3
weeks. In this particular instance the running time is about 90 minutes
spread over two discs.
The first disc contains about 35 minutes of cantorial music together with
music sheets, while the second disc has a running time of 55 minutes and
contains recordings of wedding and other ceremonial music and children's
Each disc will cost $34 (including postage and packing) and may be
by contacting me by e-mail, fax or phone (see details below).
Payment is either by bank transfer or, alternatively, via the 'iKobo'
transfer system (see the company's website at http://www.ikobo.com/ ).
payment system has been in operation for several months now and is
very well, but if it can be improved on, then all the better.
Ease of payment is an absolutely crucial issue in this enterprise and if
reader can suggest to me other payment methods which may be preferable, I
would be extremely grateful.
Finally, I would like to stress one point and once more ask for readers'
assistance. This whole project of issuing the sound archive on CD is
entirely dependent on the sale of the CDs. As you can imagine, this is
enormous undertaking and involves a host of engineers, scientists and
archivists. In addition, in order to make the sound transfers from the
delicate Edison wax cylinders onto the digital media a special laser
had to be invented (the first of its kind in the world). All this has to
financed from sales of the discs.
The success of the project will depend wholly on the response of the
and I would beg all Mendelyaners to contact anyone who they think may be
interested in this project and pass on the information contained in this
vladimir_krash (at) ipnet(dot)kiev(dot)ua
Fax: +380-44 463-04-60
Phone: +380-50 310-33-87
You can hear clips from Lori's CDs at:
Email me for purchase or buy at CD Baby or Hatikvah Music at:
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---------------------- jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org ---------------------+
- The Vernadsky Archive of Jewish Music,
Lori M Simon