Adrianne Greenbaum / FleytMuzik: Klezmer music for the flute

clunky pastel drawing - not to my taste, although the type is fine Adrianne Greenbaum
FleytMuzik - Klezmer music for the flute
, 2002
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This CD, by Klezical Tradition's Adrienne Greenbaum, opens with a stunning, muscular flute doina and never stops. Covering older klezmer repertoire (although "traditional" doesn't necessarily mean, "as recorded on early '78s" or notated by Beregovski any more). There is much of that, but ensemble member Josh Horowitz, for example, spent many years wandering Eastern Europe recording and playing with local musicians. The album also includes a vibrant medley of tunes from former-Soviet klezmer turned New York klezmer, German Goldenshteyn, as well as his rocking, driving "Rusishe Sher". And, then, Greenbaum's own "Dobriden" is such a perfect period processional, despite it's recent origin.

Nor is this a neo-classical snob's album. The album closer, "Gelebt und Gelakht," for instance, gives everyone a chance to stretch a bit, but the thrilling flute runs that carry the piece are simply sublime. (About what you'd expect from a tune recorded by Naftule Brandwein!). Along with Greenbaum, we get a chance to hear Josh Horowitz accompany on the tsimbl, and Cookie Segelstein on violin, and get a sense of how klezmer might have sounded, at its best, 100 or 200 years ago, before klezmer horns, before Americanized klezmer, before the clarinet became the main solo instrument. It's classical klezmer, if you will.

It's classical klezmer featuring a variety of vintage flutes for the perfect period sound. But this is also classical music grounded in dance tradition. Playing the older wooden flutes makes a difference. This music swings. It also has power. And yet, it is also very modern. It blows my mind to the possibilities of klezmer the way Andy Statman and Zev Feldman's groundbreaking "Jewish Klezmer Music" of 20 years ago made me first excited about klezmer. (Would the fact that bassist Marty Confurious played on that recording, and on this one, suggest that this is not coincidence?)

What is certain is that this album makes clear how good a flute can make klezmer sound, and how perfectly it works with tsimbl and bass and fidl. Mostly, though, this is Greenbaum's album. Her flute playing is inspired. It rocks. Even on the most intricate, quiet, classical passages, this is the sort of playing that makes clear how much of a difference amazing musicianship makes. This is amazing musicianship. This is the sort of album that defines a sound and a standard, the way that Alicia Svigal's "Fidl" defined klezmer fiddle for many, years ago, and this is accomplished by going far back to klezmer's pre-American roots. The CD also includes some nice notes about the history of the flute, and the klezmer flute. What an amazing, profoundly essential CD! What a beautiful, wonderful, gift. This CD is instantly part of my "essential klezmer" collection.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 2/22/03

Personnel this recording:
Adrianne Greenbaum: flutes
Cookie Segelstein: violin
Joshua Horowitz: tsimbl
Marty Confurious: bass


All arrangements by Greenbaum, Segelstein, Horowitz, and Confurious.

  1. Doyna - Zhok - Sirba (trad.) 3:01
  2. Chasen Senem (trad.) 3:00
  3. Behusher Khusid (trad.) 3:01
  4. Khosidl (trad.) 2:28
  5. Nign (trad.) 2:46
  6. Di Terkishe Fleyt (Adrianne Greenbaum) 1:44
  7. Der Kholem Fun Yid (trad.) 4:34
  8. Goldenshteyn Medley:

  9. Khosidl (trad.) 2:37
  10. Freylekhs (trad.) 1:14
  11. Freylekhs (trad.) 1:32
  12. Gut Morgn (trad.) 3:41
  13. Freylekhs/Skotshne (trad.) 2:15
  14. Sirba (trad.) 1:36
  15. Doyna - Freylekhs (trad.) 2:32
  16. Rusishe Sher (trad.) 2:49
  17. Tish Nign (trad.) 3:06
  18. Dobriden (Adrianne Greenbaum) 2:56
  19. Gasn Nign (trad.) 3:06
  20. Volekh (trad.) 1:18
  21. Kolomeyki (trad.) 2:14
  22. Gelebt und Gelakht (trad.) 2:58

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