“Trifles of Jewish Music”

Kálra Móricz

in Jewish Identities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520250888
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933682 | DOI:
“Trifles of Jewish Music”

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Leonid Sabaneyev, like other historians of Jewish music, identified the origin of Jewish art music with the foundation of the Society for Jewish Folk Music—Obshchestvo Yevreyskoy Narodnoy Muzïki (OYNM) in St. Petersburg in 1908. The OYNM was an association of professional musicians and music lovers who sought to purvey Jewish music, both secular and sacred, to audiences both Jewish and non-Jewish. This chapter examines how the political vagaries within the Jewish national movement strongly affected the emergence and development of Jewish cultural organizations. The Russian nationalist model was crucial in turning the OYNM from an organization for the preservation and popularization of Jewish musical culture into a funnel for the creation of specifically Jewish art music. Ironically, the music written by composers whose ambition was to become the Mighty Band of Jewish music emulated their Russian models not only in technical details, but also in their willing embrace of stereotypes of Russian composers, exploited to depict the Oriental others, among them Jews.

Keywords: Leonid Sabaneyev; OYNM; Russia; Jewish nationalism; Lazare Saminsky; Jewish art music

Chapter.  10917 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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