PROJECT "THE BEST SONGS OF THE JEWISH SHTETLE"
 


• About the project
• Participants of the project
• Tributes of Russian cultural arts representatives concerning the project "The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle"

 

The JEWISH SHTETLE are wonderful worlds, scattered once on open spaces of the Eastern Europe and Russia. They remained in the past and closely intertwined happiness, fear, love, hope, poverty, pride, despair and music, the music, which flew from clarinets of klezmer-musicians and streamed from under fingers of violinists on weddings.

Mums sang these songs to their babies, and those gave births to their children who in the evenings, leaning over their kids, sang these songs to them again. So the wheel of time made turns, surrendering itself to a rhythm of Yiddish language, to the melodies, which became eternal, having extended all over the world – the Old and the New one – and having united hearts of people, irrespective of their nationality.

Despite the fact of being major such a song is always written in a minor - like many Afro-American blues songs where white hides black and laughter means negation of sorrow. Therefore songs of the Jewish shtetle are quite similar - courage of mother just like courage of people always touches your heart and causes respect.

These songs could become history and having fallen asleep die in vinyl, in records of performers of the last century who were last collectors of these melodies because music constantly develops - technologies of records change, there are new carriers and quality of sound comes nearer to that divine line where the listener or the performer is not important anymore and in the end only harmony remains.

Just for this reason the cultural project "The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle" is very important today. It is a next step on a way to a temple where culture finds eternity and songs of our mums remain for children of our children.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

In 2001 under the auspices of Jury Bashmet Fund the large cultural musical project "The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle" started, Efim Alexandrov became its soloist and director.  

For today the musical project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” is considered by the Russian and the world press to be unique, not having analogues in the world musical project in Yiddish language.

During the last years more than 130 performances have been given in the USA, Canada, Germany, Israel and the CIS countries. Efim Alexandrov carries out active research work on restoration of musical culture of Yiddish. In association with the Russian Symphonic Orchestra of Cinematography two disks of songs of the Jewish shtetle in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are recorded along with two concerts at the Moscow theatre “New opera” and in the State Central Concert Hall "Russia", both broadcasted to many countries of the world.

In the last few years on the basis of the project some concert programs have been created which were huge successes in cities of Russia, the CIS countries and in the world.

For the project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” the author, director, actor, singer and guardian of Yiddish song tradition Efim Alexandrov was awarded the rank of the winner of the Russian national award “Person of the Year 2001” and “Person of the Year 5764” award of Federation of the Jewish Communities in Russia.

At the annual ceremony “The Golden Nine of the Year 2005”, where people of the year  who had contributed to the major spheres of Israel society life, are being announced,  Efim Alexandrov was awarded by Israel television channel “Israel plus” the special prize of “The Golden Nine” for his contribution to the world Jewish culture.

In the beginning of 2007 Efim Alexandrov was awarded by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation a rank of a HONORED ARTIST of Russia.

The birth and development of such huge project certainly could not take place without the support of such great people, possessing rare talent of absolute love for art, doing this world kinder and more colorful place to live:

JAN ASHKINAZIJ,
VALERIJ KOGAN,
FILARET GALCHEV,
GEORGIJ KRASNJANSKIJ.

We are also grateful to our friends who provided invaluable help to our cultural project throughout last years:

Aleksandr Dostman,
Iosif Kobzon,
Vladimir Vinokur,
Azarij Lapidus,
Boris Kiperman,
Aleksandr Boroda,
Vasilij Duma,
Ivan Egorov,
German Khan.

Special thanks to the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar who is not only our grateful spectator, but often takes part himself in our performances!

Today Efim Alexandrov continues his work within the limits of the project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle”. He is also active as an actor, singer, showman, author, producer and director of new musical projects.

PARTICIPANTS OF THE PROJECT (in different years)

Directors: Aleksej Garnizov (2001) and Ljubov Grechishnikova (2005)

Choreographers: Jurij Carenko (2001) and Nikolaj Androsov  

Art director: Aleksandr Grimm

Sound producers: Gennadij Papin, Sergej Remezov

Conductor: Sergej Skripka

Directors of television versions:

Lina Arifulina (2001) and Artjom Shadrov (2005)

Arranger: Jurij Jakushev

Literary editors and advisers:
Boris Zicerman, Marija Kotljarova and Aleksandr Gercberg

The Russian State Symphonic Orchestra of Cinematography

Group of solo-instrumentalists of the State Jazz Music Chamber Orchestra of O. Lundstrem

The State Ballet "Kostroma" (2001)

The Moscow State Ensemble of Dance “Russian seasons”

The vocal ensemble “A' cappella express”.

The vocal ensemble "Vocal-Band"

The vocal ensemble "Moscow-Transit"

An academical chorus under the leadership of Ljudmila Urman

A concert chorus under the leadership of V. Rybin

Actors of the Theatre of National Art under the leadership of V. Nazarov

The Boys’ Choir of the Moscow Choral School named after Sveshnikov

Children's choreographic ensemble "Buratino"

“The Moscow Music-Hall”

DIRECTOR OF THE PROJECT:

EFIM ALEXANDROV

© and P. 2005 Efim Alexandrov

Theatre and concert agency of E. Alexandrov

 

 

TRIBUTES OF RUSSIAN CULTURAL ARTS REPRESENTATIVES CONCERNING THE PROJECT "THE BEST SONGS OF THE JEWISH SHTETLE"

 
 

 

JURIJ BASHMET,

National Artist of the USSR, winner of the state awards of the USSR and Russia, professor and honorary academician of the Royal Academy of Arts in London:

This wonderful project is a result of creative work of many famous Russian musicians who gathered together around the director of the project, an outstanding actor and singer Efim Alexandrov. National song creation in general, and Jewish in particular, demands from performers some deep penetration into the nature of national soul, sensation of the endured phenomena, scrupulous and solicitous attitude to the primary source. Efim Alexandrov, while being the head of this creative collective, succeeded in doing this very well. Uniqueness of this project is that I did not meet so capacious creative work before which would be devoted to the national Jewish song. I am sure that E. Alexandrov's project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” will be included into a treasury of national culture, but not only as result of careful preservation of our heritage, but also as the fact of excellently performed work, worthy the fine musicians who have taken part in this project.

 

 

 

IOSIF KOBZON,

National Artist of the USSR, winner of the State Awards of the USSR and Russia, professor:

The show “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” is a real festival of Jewish music and folklore. It is a huge work and huge achievement in the field of national music.

 

 

 

 
 

 

OSKAR FELCMAN,

National Artist of Russia, composer:

For quite a long period of time I am observing the artistic activity of Efim Borisovich Alexandrov and I am attracted by his creativity because of its huge force, his skills, and the wide genre range of his performances. He has not only made himself the master of different styles of Jewish folklore, but has also deeply studied musical heritage! Being a highly educated musician he creates whole concert programs which have big success in public…

 

 

 

 
 

 

ANATOLIJ KROLL,

National Artist of Russia, professor, Doctor of Arts and composer:

I know E. B. Alexandrov's creative activity throughout many years and I highly appreciate its broad performing scale. It includes his work in cinema, theatre, on stage, and first of all the cycle of magnificent musical performances “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle”, shown by him on the most prestigious and famous concert stages of Moscow, Russia and many foreign countries. The unique, substantial voice, the thinnest sense of musicality, good taste, actor's skill and scenic charm are highly valued by his audience among whom often am I. Today Efim Alexandrov is one of the brightest and highly professional performers on a modern Russian musical scene…

 

 

 

VLADIMIR VINOKUR,

National Artist of Russia:

In my opinion, the show “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” is simply doomed to success. I would like to congratulate both, Efim Alexandrov and his audience on creation of the project.

 

 

 

 
 

 

IGOR KRUTOJ,

National Artist of Russia, composer:

It is an excellent accomplishment of old and some very close to the heart songs in so-called "tracery arrangement”, which has allowed to keep their original charm and simultaneously made them even more beautiful. His performance is worthy the highest professional ratings.

 

 

 

 
 

 

ARKADIJ ARKANOV,

writer and playwright:

It is a performance of the world level! Both, concerning music, and accomplishment. The program satisfies the highest standards. And, as it seems to me, there will be hardly one critical remark even of the daintiest viewer.

 

 

 

BERL LAZAR,

Chief Rabbi of Russia:

To live in a Jewish way that means not only Jewish tradition but also Jewish culture, and Jewish music… And nobody does it better than Efim Alexandrov! And not only because of his fine voice but also because of the flame that burns inside him. And it is audible in each song - heart and soul!

I would like to wish him good luck in raising all Jewish people so that they all could dance, sing, and live in a Jewish way!

If our grandmothers and grandfathers saw this concert now, they would think for certain: “What remarkable actors they were!” At those performances you can feel that special friendship and love that were alive in each Jewish place.

It is also necessary to estimate Efim Alexandrov's aspiration to do so that the soul of each Jew was warmed by feelings and glory of such shtetle not depending on where we live – in Italy, the USA, Russia or Germany… The same Jewish shtetle lives in each of us and will continue to live with our children and grandchildren.

 

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