Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival: Rachel Calloway, mezzo soprano; Guenko Guechev, baritone and speaker; Daniella Rabbani, speaker; Elisabeth Pridonoff, piano; Luz Manriquez, piano; Dennis O’Boyle, violin; Laura Motchalov, violin; Marylene Gingras-Roy, viola; Isaias Zelkowicz, viola; Aron Zelkowicz, cello
A member of the Society for Jewish Folk Music in St Petersburg, Leo Zeitlin (1884–1930) was known mainly for Eli Zion, a classic of Jewish art-music. Zeitlin died only seven years after emigrating to New York, still a young man, and his reputation languished until the recent discovery of a trunk full of scores brought his music back to light. This album attempts to remedy decades of neglect, especially for his charismatic Yiddish song-settings for voice, strings and piano. Zeitlin’s powerful declamations – Romantic piano music underscoring spoken Yiddish and Russian poetry – points to a genre that once was popular and is now forgotten.