Posts tagged: Alma Gluck

Romance is in the Air: Efrem Zimbalist & Alma Gluck

By , June 25, 2014 9:26 am
Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist

Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist

Before there was Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt…before there was Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall…before there was Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton…There was Efrem Zimbalist and Alma Gluck.

A little over100 years ago, a nice Jewish boy who happened to be a violin genius  met a lovely Jewish young woman who was making a name for herself as a singer. I guess you could say that when these two Jewish superstars of classical music fell in love they were destined to make beautiful music together.

The Zimbalist-Gluck romance provided lots of material for the gossips of their day. While the idea of such a wonderful pairing of talents was thrilling, there were those who pointed out that Gluck was six years older, as well as a divorcee with a daughter. Scandalous!

 

Read more about Alma Gluck’s relationship with Efrem Zimbalist.

Read more about Efrem Zimbalist.

Browse 40 recordings the talented couple made together.

Living in America

By , June 28, 2012 10:36 am

Now you can celebrate the 4th of July and your Jewish heritage at the same time.

This new compilation of songs from the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, FL is about the American Jewish experience.

It contains  Yiddish songs recorded during the early 20th century and expresses a Jewish immigrant perspective on New York, Coney Island and other things distinctly American.

You will also hear American patriotic songs sung by Jewish performers, Mike Burstyn singing about America in Hebrew and, from FAU’s Recorded Sound Archives Vintage 78s Collection, a very young Frank Sinatra singing “America the Beautiful.”

Click on the image above to hear this special compilation of songs from the JSA.

1. My America’s Free: Written byJerome Lipman and Irving Lewis. Sung by Molly Picon and Seymour Rechtzeit with the Abraham Ellstein Orchestra and Dave Tarras on clarinet. This upbeat tune lists some of the many things to love about America…..especially freedom!

2. Ich Dank dir Got fur America: Sung by Liebele Waldman.

3. America: Sung by Yiddish Theater star, Josef Feldman.

4. Yankee Doodle: This well-known Anglo-American song from the revolutionary War era is sung by Jewish singer/educator, Judy Caplan Ginsburgh.

5. I’m Going to Miami: Benny Bell tells a story of his trip to Miami Beach, Florida by train.

6. Hot Dogs and Knishes: Aaron Lebedeff sings this comic Yiddish song about Coney Island, NY.

7. Hurray far NY: This recording is from a 1967 recording of Pesach Burstein’s Yiddish Theater performance from “The Vilna Komiker.”

8. America Ich Lieb Dich (America I Love You): Sung by Yiddish Theater star, Gus Goldstein.

9. Ragtime Fiddle: Written by Irving Berlin and sung by Simon Paskal

10. Carry Me Back to Old Virginny: Originally a song sung by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, it was recast in 1878 from the slave’s perspective. This 1916 recording by Jewish opera star, Alma Gluck, is said to have been the first operatic celebrity recording to ever sell a million copies.

11. Tell That to the Marines: Written during WWI,  sung by Al Jolson.

12. God Bless the USA: This recordingis from the Judy Caplan Ginsburgh album, Musical America.

13. America America: Mike Burstyn’s tribute to the land of his birth sung in Hebrew.

14. America the Beautiful: This recording by a very young Frank Sinatra is from FAU’s Recorded Sound Archives Vintage 78rpm music collection.

Making beautiful music together: Alma Gluck & Efrem Zimbalist

By , April 16, 2010 2:53 pm
Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist

Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist

Who is your favorite star couple? From Debbie Reynolds & Eddie Fisher to Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, love among celebrities is exciting.  We always want to know more. That’s the way it is today… it is also the way it was a hundred years ago.

In 1911 two Jewish superstars of classical music met and fell in love. They were young, they were talented, and they made beautiful music together.

The Zimbalist-Gluck romance provided lots of material for the gossips of their day. While the idea of such a wonderful pairing of talents was thrilling, there were those who pointed out that Gluck was six years older, as well as a divorcee with a daughter. Scandalous!

Before and during the early years of her marriage to the violin virtuoso, Efrem Zimbalist, famed operatic soprano Alma Gluck enjoyed a highly successful recording career. Her release of Carry Me Back to Old Virginny for the Victor Talking Machine Co. was the first celebrity classical recording to sell over one million copies.

After their marriage Victor/Victrola capitalized on a sure bet: recording the newlyweds together. You can hear two of the most popular of these recordings by clicking on the record labels below.

In his biography of Efrem Zimbalist (Efrem Zimbalist: A Life, 2004), Roy Malan  describes the process of making a recording in the days prior to the electric microphone. “The technique was very basic: a large metal horn was suspended from the ceiling; connected from its small end was a flexible pipe that pssed through a thick curtain to the etching machine in an adjourning room. Singers were instructed to face away from the horn on particularly high notes. Violinists had to position themselves with the sound holes facing directly into the horn’s mouth….The possibility of knocking against the metal rim had constantly to be guarded against (p.117).”

When they recorded together “the singer and violinist each had separate pick-up horns; Efrem later joked that his was much smaller than Alma’s: ‘They didn’t want me to play too loudly and spoil everything!’ (p. 135)”

Among their most financially successful recordings was the Zionist hymn, Hatikva, produced in 1919, and Old Folks at Home by Stephen Foster, produced in 1915.

While rehearsing for this latter recording, Zimbalist discovered that the obbligato was inadequate. He came upon the idea of playing Dvorak’s Humoresque at a slightly slower tempo instead. It was recorded this way and the recording became one of their most popular.

Hear the music.

The JSA has collected 20 song recordings featuring the combined talents of Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist.

To hear all 20 song recordings,     

click here.

Submitted by Maxine Schackman, JSA  assistant director.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy