Boomkat Product Review:
"In Anton Chekhov’s last play The Cherry Orchard, written just a few years before these Gramophone Company recordings in Odessa (mostly), the character Gayev hears off-stage ‘our famous Jewish orchestra… four violins, a flute and a double bass.’ In this period, klezmer music was venturing beyond its original role as Jewish wedding and celebratory music. It was proliferating in secular settings; sometimes disreputable, even underground. In the Odessa Stories, Isaac Babel mentions a bar with a house-band of ‘old Jews with dirty beards playing Romanian and Jewish tunes’; and klezmer would have been the soundtrack of the local brothels, pretty much all Jewish-owned. (One track here celebrates a new treatment for syphilis, Preparation 606… even lavishing a trumpet on proceedings.) Tangy, precious, exuberant, life-affirming music, high and low, mostly for dancing, featuring virtuosi like violinist Jascha Gegner and clarinettist Titunshnayder, presented with excellent notes."