Spring 2004


  University Premiers as Impresario

Those abroad who grew up singing and dancing to the “Golden Age” of Hebrew songs, the songs of the Palmach, of the Negev, of the Kinneret—songs that campers and Zionist youth groups perhaps associate with a bonfire and initial intimations of the Land of Israel—likely never asked themselves why these particular songs and, like the Bible, weren’t there others that didn’t make it into the pantheon.

        The University’s Faculty of Humanities has produced a CD with the premiere recording of forgotten Hebrew songs by some of the Golden Age’s best-known composers and lyricists that provides a partial answer to those questions.

        Masa, or Journey, as the disk is called is the outcome of a joint research project of the Dept. of Music and the Dept. of Land of Israel Studies that blew off the archival, and in some cases attic, dust from the poems, songs, and tunes that comprise the new CD.  The disk itself is the product of cooperation between Dean of Humanities Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi; Assoc. Prof. Oded Zehavi, who heads the Dept. of Music; and the actor Doron Tavori.  In addition, several noted Israeli musicians contributed their talents to making the first-time recordings.

        Zehavi, who acted as music director for the production, composed a new melody for one of the songs, which is presented in its original music, as well.  He also modernized the musical arrangements of some pieces.

        The CD comes with a Hebrew-language booklet containing the words of all 18 songs, with the name of each composer and song writer and their dates, plus relevant archival pictures of scenes and personalities.  Listeners will have the chance to judge whether any of these formerly forgotten or unknown songs should replace some of the old standbys in the national repertoire.

            Masa— Songs for the Road Side is being offered for sale by the Carmel-Haifa University Economic Corp.  The price for those outside Israel is $20, which includes handling and shipping charges.  Checks should be made out to the corporation.


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