Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Same Old Song

"An alter nign," a song with a text by Leyb Kvitko and traditional music arranged by Emil Gorovets, is the title track of this recently-reissued recording by Jalda Rebling.

The text is an adaptation of an old Yiddish story that resonates on many levels:
"Go and buy a pair of oxen," says the master, and Nachman takes the money and sets out on his way. "How much does your melody cost," he asks the shepherds by the roadside, and they sell him their melody. Humming the melody, he carries on and meets a musician. From him he also buys a song. Nachman chooses two oxen at the market. However, when he tries to pay for them, he discovers that his purse is empty. He returns home empty-handed, and is flogged by the lord of the manor. While being lashed, Nachman sings his song.

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