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Early Recordings of Jewish Music in Poland

from IN PRE-WAR POLAND

Michael Aylward
Affiliation:
He is also currently working on an anthology of travellers' accounts of Jewish life in Europe.
Michael C. Steinlauf
Affiliation:
Gratz College Pennsylvania
Antony Polonsky
Affiliation:
Brandeis University, Massachusetts
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Summary

FOR seven years I have been working on a discography of commercial recordings of Jewish music made in Europe on cylinders and shellac records. This project has now progressed sufficiently for a work-in-progress report to be issued. I will initially give a general account of the discography as it stands at present and then concentrate on those aspects that apply especially to Poland.

OVERVIEW OF THE DISCOGRAPHY

The aim of the project is to document as far as possible all commercial recordings of Jewish music made in Europe on cylinders or shellac records (broadly speaking, 78 rpm records). When complete, this discography will list them all, together with all standard discographical details such as record label, catalogue number, matrix number, disc size, artist name and title of recording (together with details of composers and arrangers where these are given), precise recording date and recording location, name of recording engineer, and details of any records on which the original recording was later reissued. Every effort will also be made to provide artist biographies and additional information of interest.

The range of musical genres covered by the discography is wide, but may be broadly defined as applying to traditional Jewish music. For example, it excludes works by Jewish composers working in the European classical tradition; art music, even if specifically Jewish in tone and content; and non-Jewish music performed by Jewish artists. It does, however, extend to non-musical recordings such as comic monologues and dramatic recitals. In addition, there are separate appendices dealing with categories such as ‘Jewish’ music performed by non-Jewish artists1 and Jewish parodies performed by non-Jewish artists, the latter a fairly common genre among pre-revolutionary Russian recordings, but rare in Polish ones of the same era.

Tables 1 and 2 give a snapshot of the discography as it currently stands. Although enlightening, they by no means give a representative picture. This is merely a view taken at a particular point in time of a project that is constantly evolving and will, by the time this chapter is published, be hopelessly out of date. The data recorded in these tables is based only on those recordings that have so far been entered onto the database.

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Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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