The Golden Age of Jewish Film Music 1925-1955
Album Release Performance
The first thirty years of sound film were critically influenced by the traditions of Jewish cabaret that serve as the foundation for the repertories and performances of the New Budapest Orpheum Society. During the thirty years spanned by this CD project, Jewish cabaret expanded from the cabaret stage to film, providing the musical mise-en-scène of Jewish history during the critical moments of exile, Holocaust, and revival that provide the musical script of modern film history.
Framing the thirty years, for example, are the first sound experiments of Hanns Eisler (18981962), his Opus III (for Walter Ruttmann's Berlin die Sinfonie einer Großstadt & Melodie der Welt), stretching across scores for Slatan Dudow's Kuhle Wampe (1932), Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die (1943), Clifford Odets's None but the Lonely Heart (1944), Charlie Chaplin's The Circus (1947), and Jean Resnais's documentary on Auschwitz, Nuit et brouillard (1955). Eisler, the cabaret composer of The Hollywood Songbook (1942/43), featured on the CD, was no less the theorist and co-author of the first book on film music, Composing for the Film (1947), which remains the foundational work for modern film-music studies.
No less critical to the history of Jewish cabaret that this CD narrates is the Golden Age of Yiddish film, the decade from 1930 to 1940, when the great composers and performers of Yiddish theater gathered in Warsaw to transform the musical works for the Yiddish stage into classic films such as Yidl mit 'm Fidl, Der Purimspilr, and A Brivele der Mamen.
This program is part of Chicago Artists Month
2014, the 18th annual celebration of Chicago's vibrant art community presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
About New Budapest Orpheum Society
The New Budapest Orpheum Society
is a seven-member ensemble in residence in the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago performing Jewish Cabaret music and political songs from the turn of the 20th century to the present, exploring original materials in Hebrew, Yiddish, and German. The cabaret group has released three CDs, most recently "Jewish Cabaret in Exile" (2009, Cedille Records) and has performed locally and internationally, from Chicago-area synagogues to Broadway to clubs in Berlin and Vienna, with frequent appearances at Jewish community and cultural organizations. The ensemble's current project draws upon song composed for the golden age of German-Jewish and Yiddish film during the 1920s and 1930s. The Artistic Director is Philip V. Bohlman and the Music Director is Ilya Levinson.