Yosl Klezmer

An American art song sung in Yiddish!? Sounds like it could be the punchline of an early Woody Allen stand-up routine, but the work of Lazar Weiner (1897-1982) makes a serious and compelling case for an unlikely geographical reality. According to the Milken Archive’s thorough booklet notes, Weiner’s devotion to Yiddish poetry was a result of his discovery of it after arriving in America. The tunefulness and lush harmonies of his 1939 song “Yosl Klezmer,” in particular, show just how effective a muse these poems can be. And, in the voice of Rafael Frieder and the hands of pianist Yehudi Wyner, a famous composer in his own right who also happens to be Weiner’s son, this song has the ideal interpreters.

–FJO