When Yiddish Was Young. Program created with the support of the Rothschild Foundation and the EAJC
The alternation of periods of hostility with those of clemency on the part of the local population, princes and ecclesiastical institutions marked the existence of the Jews who lived in the German-speaking lands from medieval times throughout the Renaissance. This continuous cycle of conditioned acceptance, oppression, expulsion (and worse) would not be broken until the enlightenment. Still, despite adversity, there are clear signs of a flourishing cultural tradition, closely entwined with that of the surrounding populations. In fact, it was a German dialect that would be the basis of the culture of one of the most important Jewish populations, the Ashkenazy, and it was in this era that the seeds of Yiddishkeit, a poetical and musical tradition that has identified an entire people for centuries, were sown.
Much Jewish poetry meant for singing has survived in 16th Century collections, in a German that, although written in Hebrew characters, was close to that spoken by the mainstream population. In the small South German towns where Church and Synagogue were sometimes separated only by a tavern, Jew and Christian used the same music for dancing and celebrations, and much of the liturgical music and folk songs transcribed at the beginning of the last century bear strong traces of Renaissance music. This is Yiddish before the “fantastic voyage” that would bring it across Eastern Europe and back again, but with its pithy humor, biting satire and contemplative moments, it is just as lively, earthy and touching as the Yiddish of yesterday and today.
7 – 8 Performers: Gloria Moretti, Anna Pia Capurso, Enrico Fink: voice; Avery Gosfield: recorders, pipe and tabor, Marco Ferrari: recorders, double flute, dulcian ; Francis Biggi: cetra, colascione, lute, viola da mano, Massimiliano Dragoni: percussion, hammer dulcimer (Oleguer Aymami Busque, viola da gamba)