Hugo Weisgall: Two Song Cycles
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL417     Release Date: 2010-07-01

Judith Raskin, soprano; Morey Ritt, piano

The Golden Peacock is an image frequently encountered in Yiddish folklore. Because of its beautiful plumage (Talmudic literature ascribes as many colors to it as the days of the year), as well as its role as a messenger to loved ones, the peacock came to symbolize both the Yiddish folksong and Yiddish poetry.

In Hugo Weisgall's The Golden Peacock, Jewish music is presented with a brilliant synthesis of the folksong and art music styles. Though the Eastern European Yiddish folksong has been fortunate in eliciting first rate idiosyncratic settings from Ravel, Milhaud and Lazare Saminsky, previous arrangements have been largely prosaic, styleless or lacking in sheer musicality.

Weisgall's work may be considered a landmark, and may very well rank with Bartok's settings of Hungarian songs and Britten's English songs. Using a contemporary musical vocabulary with his customary skill and imagination, Weisgall has created a twentieth century frame of reference for these Yiddish songs. In each, the composer's expressive power evokes a germane atmosphere and delineates deeply sympathetic dramatic profiles...
— Albert Weisser

Translations, written largely in Maine during the summers of 1971 and 1972, assumed its present form quite fortuitously. I had long been wanting to set some Yiddish poetry, but shied away because I felt I did not know the language well enough. When I saw the excellent translations in the anthology edited by Irving Howe and Dozer Greenberg, I knew that one of my problems had been solved. Furthermore, when Shirely Verrett commissioned me to do a cycle for her, I decided to try to complement Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben from a 20th century view point. I chose a group of poems written and translated by women. For a time I thought of setting poems by black women poets only, but later decided that women were more important than color. Of the seven pieces, two are by black poets, three are translated from the Yiddish by Adrienne Rich, another is an original poem by Adrienne Rich, and still another is by my daughter, Deborah Trustman. I built my textual structure around a woman's life beginning with childhood through old age...
— Hugo Weisgall

This title from the CRI LP back catalog has been carefully transferred from the original master tape, and is now available from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).


We have preserved the original CRI LP catalog number for this title, preceded by the prefix NWCRL, to distinguish previously unavailable back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc.

***Please note that the newly-digitized CRI LP titles are priced at $12.99 (multiples excepted) and are not included in any of the special offers.***

Judith Raskin & Morey Ritt

Hugo Weisgall: Two Song Cycles

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $12.99

Track Listing

Golden Peacock: I. Undzer Rebenyu (Our Dear Rabbi)
Hugo Weisgall
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Golden Peacock: II. Lomir Zikh Befrayen (Drinking Song)
Hugo Weisgall
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Golden Peacock: III. Mayn Harts Veynt in Mir (My Heart, My Soul Cries Aloud)
Hugo Weisgall
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Golden Peacock: IV. Baleboste Zisinke (The Pretty Mistress)
Hugo Weisgall
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Golden Peacock: V. Shlof Mayn Kind (Sleep My Baby)
Hugo Weisgall
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Golden Peacock: VI. Der Rebe Elimeylekh (Rabbi Elimeylekh)
Hugo Weisgall
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Golden Peacock: VII. Di Goldene Pave (The Golden Peacock)
Hugo Weisgall
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Translations: I. Knoxville, Tennessee
Hugo Weisgall, Nikki Giovanni
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Translations: II. Song
Hugo Weisgall, Adrienne Rich
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Translations: III. Child Song
Hugo Weisgall, Deborah Trustman
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Translations: IV. Poem
Hugo Weisgall, Celia Dropkin
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Translations: V. Poem (second version)
Hugo Weisgall, Celia Dropkin
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Translations: VI. Poem
Hugo Weisgall, Celia Dropkin
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Translations: VII. The Rebel
Hugo Weisgall, Marie E. Evans
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Translations: VIII. A City by the Sea
Hugo Weisgall, Anna Margolin
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