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From Shear a Sheep to Shir Hashirim: The Tale of Tunda at 78 rpm, with Prof. Dr. Martin Schwartz
Lecture #26 in Joshua Horowitz’s series, The Promiscuous World of Jewish Music
Monday, Nov 30, 11am California/2pm New York/ 7pm UK/ 8pm most of Europe
Length: 1 – 2 hours.
Donations to Josh Horowitz are accepted and appreciated.
Zoom Meeting ID: 967 8901 9038
There is a Zoom limit of 100 participants.
In 1911, the Scala Yiddish theater in New York presented the debut of a work which its famous composer co-author Joseph Rumshinsky called “the first romantic Yiddish opera”, Shir Hashirim, The Song of Love. During the next year, in Warsaw, the great singer-comedian Aaron Lebedeff recorded two of its songs, one on each side of the disk. One of the songs, Tunda, Tunda, with their usual arrangement, as well as an exoticized instrumental version recorded ca. 1912 by a klezmer ensemble, will be traced, with its unusual arrangement, to a 1906 Constantinople Greek recording, Tunde tunde, about a shepherd who falls in love. In addition to some discussion and illustration of the origins of the type of melody involved, we shall access some of the Jewish and Greek spinoffs of Tunda tunda/Tunde tunde, including a song featured in the climax of a 1936 Soviet film intended to persuade Jews to settle in the Siberian territory of Birobidjan, which had been allotted as a Jewish Autonomous Region, and an off-color Athenian recording of 1934 about the erotic misadventures of a guy and a governess.