Wedding is their most important business. The Clasmoreim accompanies the couple and guests on this very special day. This was the case 100 years ago. And now – as a world premiere – a traditional Klezmer project around Christina Crowder (accordion, USA), Christian Dawid (clarinet, woodwinds, Berlin), Abigail Raismann (violin, USA) and Samuel Seifert (violin, Leipzig) will play on a port. Theater train in Erfurt.
It’s summer time. It’s Yiddish summer time in Weimar, which 23 years ago has become a major event in many cities in the small federal state in central Germany. The quartet is one of the “roving stars” of the “Kleismer Traditional and New Yiddish Music Project”.
The makers of Yiddish Summer found evidence of ancient klezmer music in lost records collected by Guzman Kiselgov 100 years ago in Ukraine and Belarus that resurfaced in a library in Kiev (Ukraine). Once again, Yiddish Summer Weimar became part of the international research community.
“First you have to recognize the sound and then the notes,” says Christina Crowder. She is from New York and, as director of the Clasmere Institute in New York, she has digitized and transcribed many of these manuscripts along with Summers of Yiddish and 200 assistants worldwide. What I translated is an attitude towards life. Clasmorem’s lust for life, for example. And yes, a lot is related to the wedding. Because this was the most important work of the musician.
diversity It is impossible to attend all Yiddish summer events during the five weeks. Nobody has that much time. But the desire for it. Diversity is huge again this year. The singularity flashes again and again in the program. So far, The Klezmatics from the USA are finally guests at what may be the most important international festival of Yiddish. They have always been among the best teams around the world. This year, the group around co-founder Lauren Schlamberg (accordion, guitar, vocals) has been around for 35 years.
The Klezmatics bring a colorful mix of styles onto the stage – and the audience thanks them with standing ovations. “To life” they sing. It’s their show’s motto and heavy tempo (Ritchie Burshay). Your music instantly brings joy to life. The way Sklamberg, Barshay, Frank London (trumpet, keyboard), Matt Darriau (kaval, clarinet) and Paul Morrissett (bass, Tsimbl) are played brings ease.
Amal Morcos, a Palestinian singer from Israel, is cheering happily.
Lisa Gutkin (violin, vocals) and the others seem quite liberal. Finally play again! With the machines, with the audience. They have succeeded in getting the audience to pursue quiet, sad titles as well as slapstick. They got a real round of applause for “Ale Brider” (all brothers). “Oi, Oi, Oi” is also great to sing along and take you on the lively way back home.
Ilya Schnevis and the Weimar Caravan Orchestra need exactly one piece of music at E-Werk’s summer theater, so that musicians don’t just do what they’re asked. His audience follows him again, full of joy and lightness. The musician from Latvia, now living in the United States, once again managed to get the caravan orchestra in the right mood.
It consists of young men from Haifa and Weimar who train together in the Yiddish summer and forgo the semester break from the music academies. Above all, Ilya Schnevis ensured that 40 young people played the instruments carelessly and yet professionally, with obvious pleasure.
CHOR Like other musicians, conductor Grace Morkus Ballon did not visit Weimar for the first time. Also known here are some of the young women in the choir, who are excellently accompanied by Paulina Shepherd (Great Britain) and Amal Morcos (Israel). Amal Morcos also sings an a cappella. The Palestinian singer from Israel exclaimed happily.
Amidst the audience sit artists from the Yiddish summer who were finally allowed to be in the audience that evening: Sveta Kondesh, Sasha Lorge, Samuel Seifert, Kristina Crowder or Miriam Camerini react as enthusiastically as the others, applauding, singing and cheering. Boy is there too. Can the mood of such a party be improved? Yes, in Leipzig. When Clasmatics and the Caravan Orchestra perform together: Cheers guaranteed.
The most famous representatives of Yiddish music are very concerned about the young and the educated during this festival. They take seriously what the creators of the Yiddish summer festival claim: it may be a festival of learning, development, research, and presentation.
There is a rare gathering. Here you will meet at eye level again this year. Teamwork can be felt both on and off the stage everywhere. I’m finally in the middle of it all again. Mark Kovnatsky (violin), for example, played a tune night after night for 300 nights during the pandemic that people from all over the world had been allowed to wish beforehand. And now, at last, he and his audience are seeing each other again.
Young people from Haifa and Weimar sing and play in the Caravan Orchestra.
The fact that the Weimar Summer Lidish Festival was such a big event with 14 workshops and 80 individual events throughout Thuringia and youth camp speaks volumes about the specialty of this festival and also about the support from the State Chancellery and the city of Weimar. So artists from all over the world can come back.
Hopes In order not to endanger the festival, the organizers have moved all events outside this time. That was wise. The high infection rate in Thuringia is not yet cause for concern, but no one could have known in advance how quickly the situation could change.
Hope also leads to how eager the public is to accept Yiddish summer performances – so much so that small towns and cities are also on the tour schedule. The festival should have set new records for the audience when the last curtain fell on August 21, and it is still the most popular festival of Yiddish and Jewish culture in Germany and possibly in Europe as well.
But the Achava Festival from September 19 to October 3 is already set up under the direction of Martin Kranz and will present world premieres, international artists and discussions under the fig tree.
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