Itzhak Perlman / In the Fiddler's House

Album cover: Impressionistic painting, Two klezmorim.

Itzhak Perlman
Live in the Fiddler's House
Angel Records, 56209, 1996
810 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019

Last year was another year, so, another Fiddler tour. Overall, I think this is a very good thing. Oh, I know, friends have pointed out to me that Perlman doesn't really "get" klez the way he could. And if I listen hard, I do hear it. But I also hear four of my favorite klezmer bands wailing with a very wonderful violinist, and all of them having a good time playing wonderful music together.

The big problem with the Perlman/Fiddler tours isn't that Perlman has faults as a klezmer player. It's that his albums sell more than all other klezmer albums combined, because the market for classical musicians slumming as klezmorim is much greater than the market for amazing klezmorim playing their hearts out. As a result, four bands who have each payed a lot of dues (but not exclusively) now earn some reasonable royalties and have some extra gigs each year.

If this were a just world, everyone who bought one of these albums would be excited by klezmer, and would return during the year to purchase other albums--even by the bands performing with Perlman here. Or, perhaps people who enjoy this playing would also try bands like Kapelye, or the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble, or the Flying Bulgars, or Maxwell St. Klezmer, and maybe Budowitz or Di Gojim, or Di Naye Kapelye or Joel Rubin or many others from the host of other bands reviewed enthusiastically on these pages. Not that I would ever turn down a chance to see the bands currently featured with Perlman. Not that this isn't among my favorite albums of the year, just that there is something sad when people rush out and purchase this album, wonderful though it is, and remain oblivious to the rest. This album is good, but it doesn't substitute for the diversity and variety and wonder of the rest of the world of klez.

And the typography on the liner notes still leaves much to be desired.

Comments by Ari Davidow 10/31/97


    Brave Old World

  1. Bukovina 212 (trad., Alpert, Bern) 4:29
  2. Lekho Neraneno (trad., BOW) 5:00
  3. Doina Naftule (trad., Bjorling) 2:43
  4. A Hora mit Branfn (trad., Bjorling) 3:23
  5. The Klezmatics

  6. Healthy Baby Girl Hora (Svigals) 2:16
  7. Golem Tants (London) 1:49
  8. Honga Encore (trad., London) 1:34
  9. Nign (Sklamberg) 5:31
  10. Bulgars / The Kiss (trad., Klezmatics, London) 5:07
  11. The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra

  12. Meron Nign / In the Sukke (trad., arr. Statman) 6:01
  13. Sholom Aleykhem--Peace unto you (R. Israel Goldfarb/arr. Statman) 4:32
  14. Khaiterma (trad., arr. Statman) 2:54
  15. Andy's Ride (Andy Statman) 2:54
  16. Klezmer Conservatory Band

  17. A Heymisher Bulgar / Wedding Dance (Abe Ellstein, Jacob Jacobs; trad., arr. KCB) 3:13
  18. Kale Bazetsn / Khusidl--Seating the bride / Khasidic Dance (trad., arr. Dave Tarras / trad., arr. KCB) 4:30
  19. Fun Tashlikh--Cast off your troubles (Naftule Brandwein, arr. KCB) 2:58
  20. A Yingele fun Poyln / Di Mame iz Gegangen in Mark Arayn--A young man from Poland / Mother went to the market (trad., arr. KCB) 5:01
  21. Finale

  22. Processional (trad., arr. by Netsky and "Klezcorps")
    Klezmer Suite (trad., arr. by Netsky and "Klezcorps")
    Ale Brider--We are all brothers (trad., arr. by Netsky and "Klezcorps") 12:23

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