December 03, 2010

Wu ich kehr mich wu ich wend mich du!

This weekend marks the third, fourth, and fifth nights of Hanukkah. Spin that dreidel! And then listen to the great Chazan Johnny Gluck singing "A Dudele," originally composed by the 18th-century Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev.



This particular arrangement is by the polish-born conductor Leo Low, and was (I would guess) originally done for the Hazomir Chorus in Warsaw. Low—a veteran conductor of synagogue choirs, including the Grand Synagogue in Vilna, where he met and began a long association with the legendary cantor Gershon Sirota—had become director of the Hazomir chorus in 1908; singing Low's arrangements of Yiddish folk songs, the chorus became a model for similar groups around the world.

Low's arrangement has (as best I can tell) passed into the public domain, so here's a scan from the Yiddish wing of Soho the Dog HQ's palatial music library:

A Dudele (arr. Leo Low) (6.3 Mb PDF)

I don't remember where I picked this copy up, but, thanks to retailer stamping, I know the original owner picked it up from here—


—which, thanks to Google Street View, I know is now a Thai restaurant:


Low himself emigrated to America in 1920, directing a chorus in the immigrant-labor hotbed of Paterson, New Jersey, as well as the National Workers Farband Choir in New York, associated with the socialist-Zionist Yiddish Natzionaler Arbeiter Farband. Low spent time in (then) Palestine in the 1930s, then returned to the United States. He died in 1960.

1 comment:

arktikwolf said...

Thanks for posting this.

I acquired my tfillin at Hyman's
in 1960. My friend, the late Toronto poet Michael Segal, O"H, came to own the Hyman's sign (paint on glass) after it went out of business some years later.