"Alone I set out on the road," wrote Lermontov, the great Russian poet, in 1841. This line has been sung many times, as it came from the very popular Russian romance, "Vyhozhu odin ja na dorogu" (Alone I set out on the road). The song travelled all the way from Russia to Israel during the second Aliya, which consisted of many Russian immigrants. These immigrants, who left their homes in Europe and arrived in a desolate country in the Middle East, could feel themselves as the lonely traveler of this romantic song.
Song of the month archive
In honor of May Day, this month's song of the month is a Yiddish song about the political struggles of Jewish socialists, communists, and even anarchists, in Russia and Poland since the ending of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century. The song is actually a combination of two songs, arranged by Zalman Mlotek, musician, conductor, arranger and an authority in Yiddish folk and theater music.
Rabbi Yisrael Najara (1550?-1625), a poet and a composer, was born to a distinguished family of Jews from Spain. He lived and worked in Damascus, Safed, and Gaza. He was one of the greatest Hebrew poets in the period after the expulsion from Spain.
*The notes sample is taken from the collection "Shirei Eretz Yisrael" of Jacob Schoenberg, where the melody appears in the song Shehav Beni, Shehav Bimenuha, with lyrics by Emanuel Harusi.
As clay in the hand of the potter,
Who expands or contracts it at will,
So are we in thy hand, gracious God;
Heed thy pact, heed not the accuser.
The widely known “Hebrew Melody” by Joseph Achron was composed in 1911 as a piece for violin, and as such it was performed in concerts of the “Society for Jewish Folk Music.” Later on, Achron returned to this work at least twice, creating new versions which are much less known. The version of 1928 is set for soprano and piano, with a Russian text written by Achron’s wife, Marie Rap-hoph Achron. It was intended to be performed by Nina Koschetz, the famous Russian soprano whose life intersected with major Russian composers such as Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.