Sunday, February 15, 2009

Strom un Drang

Elizabeth Schwartz writes:
Dear blogger - So, I must admit, I'm curious -- who are you, f my i?

I ask because I'd like to know - know why you linked Mark Rubin's vicious attack on fellow klezmorim to your blog. Yes, I read it and yes, I wrote Rubin, although I doubt I'll hear back from him. Just out of curiosity - have you been to any of our concerts? Have you heard any of our CD's (all of which have gotten major good reviews). I know it's easy to take pot shots at Yale - he's a major figure in our world, he's used to it... and he frankly doesn't care -- his response to Rubin was, "Imagine if all that energy, determination and apparent free time had gone into trying to get a better gov't in place in Texas".

But I'm not a major figure - I'm just an honest musician trying to do some good work and trying to keep our teeny tiny little music afloat. I've been gratified by the overall response to what I've been doing, and to the koved I've gotten from Yiddishists and Yiddish organizations. BUT THAT'S NOT WHY I'M WRITING:

I think these anonymous blogging potshots are super-destructive. When a klezmer calls another klezmer a "clumsy horror show" - them's fighting words. I don't care if Rubin thinks that of my singing - because I know for a fact he's never heard it. I do care when klezmers try to destroy other klezmers. If someone's bad, leave them to their inevitable failure. But I guess if they really were bad... there'd be no need to attack them on blogs.


peace, zay gezint, Elizabeth Schwartz
It's funny. I didn't read Mark's article as a vicious attack against klezmorim. I read it as a snarky response to a wanna-be music critic. Check this:
With "writers" with this sort of agenda supported by the mainstream Jewish press, it seems what I feared for many years really is true: my own community actively rejects me and my work. Why else then is it that to perform Yiddish music, I must travel back to old Europe, sometimes standing on the very spot of my extended family's destruction, to find an appreciative audience? Conversely, I have performed for my local JCC a total of 3 occasions in 15 years. How sad can it be that the children of the murderers find meaning in my culture when the children of the murdered actively despise it. I'll let Mr. Lester (ne' Lowenstein, maybe?) work that out on the couch years from now when the vacuousness of the Goldyne lands shallow consumer culture finally leaves him flat. By then, there may not be anybody left to say a kaddish. ("It doesn't really reflect the true Jewish sentiment of today" one imagines they might be heard to say.)
I fully agree with the overall sentiment of the article. It's true that Mark dissed a few klezmer performers in the essay, but that was not the point of the article at all.

For the record, as I've noted many times in the past, I will often link to thoughts/articles/etc. I don't agree with, if I find them to be thought-provoking, interesting, or noteworthy.

I'm really not sure what the issue is here, to be honest. Yale wasn't attacked on this, or any, anonymous blog so far as I can tell. He was criticized on Mark Rubin's blog.(BTW, this isn't an anonymous blog. I use a pen name, but my ID isn't exactly a closely held secret.) So I'm not sure why I'm being challenged on this at all. Anyone with an issue here should be commenting at Mark's blog.

Incidentally, for my take on one of the bands Rubin mentioned, here's my review of Yiddish Cup's last album, "Klezmer With A Slice Of Wry."