Chekhov’s Band: Eastern European Klezmer Music from the EMI Archives 1908-1913

“Our famous, Jewish orchestra, you remember, four violins, a flute and a double bass” (Gayev in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, 1904)

Renair records are proud to announce the fourth of their series of issues exploring the story of Jewish recorded music.

Produced by Julian Futter and with a 40 page booklet written by the internationally renowned clarinettist and ethnomusicologist, Joel Rubin and the distinguished expert on Jewish recordings Mike Aylward, the recordings are put into their musical and cultural perspective.

For more than one-hundred years the recordings on this CD had lain forgotten and unheard in the EMI archives. Until their rediscovery, we had little idea of how a typical pre-first world war Eastern European Klezmer band actually sounded. What we knew was based on recordings made at a later date in the USA by recent immigrants.

This ground breaking release of these extraordinary early recordings rewrites the story of Jewish instrumental music. Their exuberance and life affirming feeling allow us a glimpse into a world that has completely vanished.

The recordings in this compilation cover all aspects of Jewish life, from Zionism to Syphilis, Cossacks and pogroms, some religion but a lot of dancing and fun on the way.

Renair Records, London

Distribution by Honest Jons