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Abe Schwartz
Artist Name
Abraham Schwartz

Abe Schwartz  Biography

Abe (Abraham) Schwartz (1881–1963) was one of the best known and most recorded Jewish bandmasters—as well as a popular dance-band violinist—in the New York area for many decades. His national and even international fame as what might be called today a klezmer-band leader came from the manifold records of his bands under various names. He emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1899, at the age of eighteen, having spent his youth in Romania, near Bucharest, where he apparently acquired most of his musical skills on his own. After establishing a reputation as a dance-band leader in New York Jewish circles, his initial entrée into the frenetic recording industry occurred when he was engaged to supervise instrumental recording sessions for the Columbia label.

Schwartz’s own recording career was launched around the same time (ca. 1917) with his release of two so-called Russian dance melodies: a sher and a bulgar, played by his Oriental Orchestra. Neither song was Russian, but that exotic perception of “mysterious Russia,” especially of her idealized (and usually undifferentiated) Gypsies, sold in those days—as did anything perceived as “oriental.” Sheet-music publishers and record companies of that era frequently turned to immigrant Jewish musicians to front as authentic carriers of the “new” sounds. Such composers and arrangers—supposedly “fresh from Russia,” though most came from the Ukraine, Belorussia, Galicia, Poland, Romania, or Bessarabia—had the desired cachet as cultural transmitters. Yet many of those Jews had played together with Gypsy, Romanian, and Russian musicians in Europe and had absorbed some of their styles. Still, many of the tunes or styles were simply those played by klezmorim in various parts of eastern Europe—regardless of their pos-sible earlier derivation from host traditions. Schwartz, immediately following his first record, led bands on six other records in 1917.

2 thoughts on “Four Divine States of Mind”

  1. I am reaching out to you on behalf of Saiph Stars, a non-profit organization developed for children battling illnesses, providing them with resources such as videos, songs, games, magazines, etc. to entertain and inspire them while undergoing treatments during their long hospitalizations.
    BH, we have a wide range of performers, singers, storytellers such as Yakov Shwekey, Mordechai Shapiro, Ari Goldwag, Baruch Levine, YBC, Uri Davidi, Rabbi Ashear, Rabbi Lish, Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, Rabbi Erps, Rebbee Hill, Rabbi Pesach Krohn, and many more who have joined our project by allowing us to use their material. In addition, subscriptions such as Mishpacha, Binah, The Circle, Spotlight, JWOW have all joined our project as well BH. All the material will be uploaded to locked iPads and is streamed thru the Saiph Stars App designated to be used by these children.
    We would love to include your material as it would mean a lot to the children.
    Please check out our website for more info at http://www.saiphstars.com.
    It should be a tremendous zechus for you! Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
    Shulamit

  2. Felice Glazer says:

    I was just sitting at my piano looking over a very old book of songs called the songs we sing by Harry Cooper Smith. I got this book when I went to Anshe emet Sunday school in Chicago. That was in the late forties and fifties. This book is falling apart but I love it and will never part with it until I pass away. Something today just made me decide to look up the name of Harry Coopersmith and that’s how I found this site.

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