Joel Rubin & Joshua Horowitz / Bessarabian Symphony

Album cover: lively old painting of three klezmers

Joel Rubin & Joshua Horowitz
Bessarabian Symphony

Early Jewish Instrumental Music
1995 WERGO Schallplatten, 1994
Postfach 36 40, D-55026 Mainz, Germany

If you remember that one of the first Klez revival albums to catch my eye was the Statman/Feldman "Jewish Klezmer Music," featuring instrumentation similar to this album (clarinet and tsimbl), you'll immediately understand why I am inclined to enjoy this album, as well. This is an easy task when the musicians are as good as Rubin and Horowitz. This is a pleasant, slow album, with occasional moments of excitement as the clarinet and tsimbl (Jewish hammer dulcimer) chase each other's melodies. Horowitz' button accordion also lends an anachronistic, archaic flavor to the music. It is fun to compare this album to the thoroughly pleasant effort covering a similar period, by the Hungarian(?) folk group, Muzsikás, "Máramaros: The Lost Jewish Music of Translyvania."

By early, as it happens, Rubin and Horowitz seem to mean music as it was played 50 and 100 years ago. From the liner notes: "Klezmer performance practice at the turn of the century was markedly different than today. Earlier performances placed more emphasis on expression than on perfection, and showed a more exaggerated use of trills, slides, and krekhtsn (Yidd. = moans; used to describe the various voice-like ornaments emulating the sighing and crying type of singing found in synagogue song). The older aesthetic also favored jagged phrasings of the melody, which lent energy and surprise to the line. Tempi were not neat and constant, but changed continually throughout the course of the performance, being pushed and pulled at the whim of the players. Historical performances also show subtle and abundant variations, often on a minute scale. Accompaniments seldom repeated patterns relentlessly, but were constantly adjusted to the rhythm and shape of the melody...."

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 7/3/95

Personnel this recording:
Joel Rubin: clarinet in c and tsimbl (9)
Joshua Horowitz: button accordion and tsimbl (all other tracks)



  1. Barkagan's dobriden (traditional) 2:46
  2. Kolomeyke (traditional) 3:36
  3. Dem zeydns tants

  4. Dem zeydns tants (Grandfather's dance) (traditional) 2:27
  5. Fun Tashlikh (traditional) 1:33
  6. Doina Medley

  7. A yidishe doina (J. Rubin) 3:49
  8. Gershfeld's gas nign (traditional) 2:42
  9. Mitsve tants (traditional) 2:13
  10. Rabinovitsh' freylekhs (traditional) 1:58
  11. Shulem

  12. Shulem (Peace) (J. Horowitz) 2:39
  13. Shloimke's skotshne (traditional) 2:35
  14. Shabes nign (Sabbath Melody) 4:01
  15. Az du furst avek

  16. Az du furst avek (When you leave) (traditional) 3:23
  17. Buhusher khusid (traditonal) 3:23
  18. Belf's khusidl (traditional) 3:10
  19. Mazltov

  20. Mazltov (Congratulations) (J. Rubin) 1:08
  21. Crimean Melody (traditional) 3:02
  22. Karliner

  23. Karliner nign (Melody of the Karliner Hasidim) (traditional) 2:19
  24. Chabadsker nign (Melody of the Chabad Hasidim) (traditonal) 2:35
  25. Epstein's sirba (traditional) 2:35
  26. Bessarabian Symphony

  27. Improvizatsye (Improvisation) (J. Horowitz) 4:41
  28. Dobriden (Good day) (traditional) 4:00
  29. Sadagurer khusid (traditional) 3:41
  30. A gute nakht

  31. A gute nakht (Good night) (traditional) 1:39
  32. Gurevitsh' dobriden (traditonal) 2:07
  33. Hasidic Waltz (traditional) 2:12
  34. A yidishe honga (traditional) 2:30

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