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Tangos from the library of oblivion – a new disc in the series REVISIONS from ANAKLASIS
A panorama of compositional output combining Polish and Yiddish inter-war hits with sorrowful, despairing tangos from the Ghetto. The disc Bajgelman. Get to Tango represents a twenty-first-century take on the output of the outstanding musician Dawid Bajgelman, from Łódź. These arrangements and reworkings of selected works by one of the greatest composers of Jewish theatre music were produced by the outstanding musician and composer Jarosław Bester. The album comes out on 11 December.
David Bajgelman was a composer from Łódź, born in 1888, who specialised in adapting the Jewish musical tradition to the needs of operetta and cabaret. In the Ghetto, he founded a symphony orchestra and continued to compose. He did not survive the Holocaust, perishing in a concentration camp. Fortunately, his music has been revived. Jarosław Bester, who produced the new arrangements, not only reminds us of this music, but reveals the special qualities of these compositions, on a par with the work of Jerzy Petersburski and Henryk Wars. Bester is an accordion virtuoso and leader of the Bester Quartet, previously known as the Cracow Klezmer Band (with which he travelled around the world and drank from many a source of inspiration), working with such artists as John Zorn and Tomasz Stańko.
‘Bajgelman must have been an intelligent, no-nonsense guy who knew perfectly well what he was doing’, says the accordionist Jarek Bester, who arranged the works on Bajgelman. Get to Tango. ‘This is the music of pre-war Poland: that cultural melting pot’, he adds, admitting that his work on Bajgelman’s music demanded more time and effort than work on the music of any other composer. ‘It seems like these are simple little tunes, but when you delve deeper into the music, it turns out to be rather peculiar: in triple time, complicated and highly demanding. The harmonies have to be set to virtually each bar separately.’
So the ANAKLASIS label’s REVISIONS series gains another fascinating release. Brilliant musicians, accompanied by a star-studded vocal line-up, take us on a journey through the work of one of the most famous Jewish composers of the inter-war period. Bajgelman’s story is told through the characteristic sound of the Bester Quartet: the accordion of the leader, Jarek Bester, the violin of David Lubowicz, the double bass of Maciej Adamczak and the percussion instruments of Ryszard Pałka, joined by some illustrious guests; cellist Krzysztof Lenczowski, trumpeter Michał Bylica and – above all, perhaps – the leading Polish jazz vocalists Grażyna Auguścik, Dorota Miśkiewicz and Jorgos Skolias.
This disc will be available from 11 December in PWM’s bookshops, on pwm.com.pl and swiatksiazki.pl, and also in leading bookshops and music stores, on digital platforms and on the virtual shelves of the empik chain!
Then on 13 December (Sunday), at the Tempel Synagogue, the autumn-winter climax to the Prologue of the 30th Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow. At 7 p.m. sharp, in the concert ‘David Bajgelman’s Music: On the Way to Happiness’, we will hear material from the album Bajgelman. Get to Tango performed by the Bester Quartet, Grażyna Auguścik, Dorota Miśkiewicz and Jorgos Skolias. The concert will be broadcast online on the ANAKLASIS and PWM Facebook profiles, and on the festival’s Facebook fanpage and YouTube channel.