“Lullaby” : the story of a Niggun

Beckerman, Michael and Tadmor, Naomi (2016) “Lullaby” : the story of a Niggun. Music and Politics, X (I). pp. 1-27. ISSN 1938-7687

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This article traces a Hasidic niggun from its origins in Ukraine around 1910, to mandate Palestine in the late 20's, where it acquired a text and became a highly popular song, and on to England, where it was recorded in 1943 - then back to Nazi Germany in 1935, where it appeared in two different publications. From there it follows the niggun to New York, where it was transcribed for the first time in 1948, and then back to Terezin in 1943, where the composer Gideon Klein created a powerful and highly symbolic art song based on the tune and part of the wording. Through detailed musical and textual analyses, drawing on archival and oral history research, we illuminate connections between the text and earlier biblical and musical passages to show that the tune and its contexts provide a history of the Jewish people in the 20th century in miniature.

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Journal Article
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Music and Politics
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24 Mar 2016 10:04
Last Modified:
14 Feb 2024 00:57