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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32Jews and Music-Making in the Polish Lands$
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François Guesnet, Benjamin Matis, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764739

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764739.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Abraham Ellstein’s Film Scores

Abraham Ellstein’s Film Scores

Some Less Obvious Sources

(p.235) Abraham Ellstein’s Film Scores
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32

Ronald Robboy

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines how Abraham Ellstein came to write the music for such Yiddish films as Yidl mitn fidl, Mamele, and A brivele der mamen. It explains that Ellstein is a New Yorker and the only major Yiddish theatre composer not to have been born in Europe. It also details how he received both a solid traditional Jewish musical preparation as a meshorer and sophisticated training in Western classical music from an early age. The chapter explores the song from Yidl mitn fidl and “Abi gezunt” and “Mazl” from Mamele, which are among Ellstein's most famous works and remain among the best known of the entire Yiddish theatrical repertoire. It analyzes how Ellstein's extensive underscoring serves as an indispensable frame for how action is to be seen and understood, providing subtext and interpretative cues for mood and atmosphere, for setting, for characterizations, and for characters' emotions and states of mind.

Keywords:   Abraham Ellstein, Yiddish films, meshorer, Yidl mitn fidl, Mamele, A brivele der mamen

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