Saturday, August 4, 2007

Beyond Recall - Recordings from Berlin 1933 to 1936

Beyond Recall Album CoverHere's a box-set I'd love to add to my collection. It's called Beyond Recall and includes 11 CDs and 1 DVD capturing the tail end of pre-war German Jewish music. It's available through Bear Family Records and Unfortunately neither Bear Family nor Amazon offer sound clips, but ere's the Bear Family Records description of it.

"After Hitler's seizure of power in 1933, anti-Semitism became a state doctrine. The National Socialists' aim was the physical destruction of the Jews. Every memory of the sound and voice of Jewish artists was to be consigned to oblivion in the same way as the Yiddish language. On being liberated from Theresienstadt concentration camp, the Berlin Rabbi, Leo Baeck, stated his conviction that the 1,000 year history of the Jews in Germany had come to an irrevocable end. This documentation is proof of the victory of life over death - priceless sound documents have been rescued, then restored with a great expenditure of technological effort and, after sixty years, made available once more for all time.Under constant surveillance by the Gestapo, the members of a Jewish Cultural League [Juedischer Kulturbund] in Berlin were able to pursue their artistic activities and make and distribute records. Some of the titles recorded in Berlin were released in Palestine from 1934 to 1936 - forming part of the early history of Israel's record industry. These records that are scattered throughout the world for the most part exist only as single copies or test pressings. The repertoire is wide and includes classical music, Yiddish comedians, German cabaret, Palestinian folk songs and, above all, cantorial singing of enormous eloquence."
Both Bear Family and Amazon offer full listings of the tracks. If you're interested in knowing what musicians and what kinds of music were happening in Berlin in the early 1930's, this list may be invaluable. The box set is a bit pricey, but not unreasonably so considering the size of the collection. It still out of my price range for the moment. Ah well, it's good to have a wish list.

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