Der yid mitn fidl 03:13

Liner Notes

Der yid mitn fidl (1956), a setting of a narrative poem, is an elaboration of the basic song type represented by Weiner’s earlier Yosl klezmer. Here, however, the material is more intricately developed, as the poem offers an imagined dialogue between a practical, down-to-earth wife and her luftmentsch husband, who, instead of pursuing any practical means of financial support, plays his fiddle and lives his ineffable, spiritual fantasy.

By: Yehudi Wyner



Poet: A. Lutzky [Aaron Tsuker] (1894–1957) 

Once there was a Jew called Yidl,
Yidl the Jew played the fiddle.
The poor Yidl fiddles a song,
As only Yidl can.

His wife pleads with him:
“Yidl, my love,
Fiddle your song with thread and needle.
We need sustenance; what good is your song?
Become a tailor, be a good Jew.”

The little Jew sings with his heart on the fiddle:
“Life is bitter and the song is sweet.”

His wife then says to him:
“You incorrigible Jew, Yidl!
Your fiddling is as useless as a shovel made of matza.
I’m talking about practical matters—think about it, Yidl;
A Jew with a song is like a wind in the desert.”

The Jew fiddles his song on the fiddle:
“Of all the things one could do with himself, I like music.”

His wife rages:
“Yidl, you Jew!
Your wife wails and you sing a song!”

The Jew cried and pleaded with his fiddle:
“I can’t help myself, my life is the fiddle!”

So the battle over the song goes on:
The wife pleads; the little Jew plays a Jewish song.
He fiddles and sings, the Jew with the fiddle.

And the more the Jew plays, the prettier the song.

Poet: A. Lutzky [Aaron Tsuker] (1894–1957)

amol hot a yidl geheysn yidl,
hot yidl dos yidl geshpilt af a fidl.
fidlt a lidl dos orime yidl,
vos er aleyn yidl bazingt in a lidl.
ay-day-day ...

bet im zayn vaybele:
libinker yidl,
fidl dos lidl mit fodim un nidl.
mir darfn parnose, vos toyg mir dayn lidl.
ver mir a shnayderl, zay a gut yidl.

lidl dos yidl mit harts afn fidl;
dos lebn iz biter, un zis iz dos lidl.

zogt im zayn vaybele:
shlekhtinker yidl,
fidl dayn lidl a matse mit ridl.

ikh red tsu dir takhles, barekhn zikh, yidl;
a vint in der midbor a yidl mit lidl.

fidlt der yidl zayn lid afn fidl:
fun ale parnoses gefelt mir dos lidl.

tsornt zayn vaybele:
yidl, du yidl!
dayn vaybele yomert un du zingst a lidl!

veyndl un kheyndl der yid afn fidl:
ikh ken mir nit helfn mayn lebn iz fidl!

azoy vet dos lidl
shoyn blaybn derziglt:
dos vaybele taynet, dos yidele yidlt,
fidlt un lidlt, der yid mitn fidl
un merer se yidlt alts shener dos lidl.



Composer: Lazar Weiner

Length: 03:13
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Robert Abelson, Baritone;  Yehudi Wyner, Piano

Date Recorded: 12/01/1992
Venue: Kilbourn Hall/Eastman School of Music (F), University of Rochester, New York
Engineer: Dusman, David
Assistant Engineer: Michael Isaacson and Samuel Rosenbaum

Additional Credits:

Translations and Transliterations: Eliyahu Mishulovin
Preliminary preparations by Adam J. Levitin


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