The Complete Recordings 1949​-​50

by Ben Baruch

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about

From the archives of the Musée Juif de Bruxelles, with the help of Zahava Seewald.

This box set reissues the complete recordings published on 78-rpm picture discs by "Saturne" in 1950. Nine discs were recorded under René Cloërec's direction, the other two under Léon Algazi's. Also included are "Yehi rotson" and "Shabes baym shalesh-shudes," two songs found on a non-picture disc record released by "Le disque folklorique yiddish."
This singer's repertoire is diversified: synagogal-like religious songs in Hebrew ("Kaddish," "Kol nidrey"), Yiddish songs ("Kinderyorn"), songs about religious topics in Hebrew ("Haben yakir," dedicated to his father) or Yiddish ("Zol nokh zayn shabbes"), and songs in Hebrew about the inception of the State of Israel ("Artseynu," "Vu ahin zol ikh geyn").

credits

released June 20, 2017

Ben Baruch was a singer from the early 20th century, and although he was born in Poland he quickly relocated to Belgium, fleeing to France in the 30s following the Nazi occupation. When the war had subsided, Baruch carried on his singing in both France and Belgium and concentrated his efforts on traditional Jewish religious songs (rather than the Opera he had been trained to perform) and was eventually picked up to release a box set of 78rpm picture discs in 1950. I can't even imagine how these discs looked, but this collects all of Baruch's recorded material from the time and it's a pleasure to hear it like this. I don't have a background in traditional Jewish music so there are few reference points for me, but that doesn't prevent this collection from being hugely emotive and enjoyable, performed by a man with an effortlessly affecting voice. At times he sounds like the great singers of the 30s and 40s and at others he comes over alldeep and full of a worldly gravitas, but at all times there is an innocence to Baruch's tones which is indicative of the age. Even though he would have witnessed the horrors of a bloody war, he manages to instil his recordings with hope and beauty, and listening now this is more than inspirational. Before listening to this expansive double disc collectionI hadn't heard even a whisper about Baruch, but I guess that's what makes Sub Rosa such an important label - rather than sit back and release the obvious they actually hunt for lesser heard gems, and as usual this re-issue has been treated with the utmost care and attention to detail. An important collection of devastatingly gorgeous music.
Notes from Boomkat.

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Sub Rosa Label Brussels, Belgium

Record and production company managed by Guy Marc Hinant and Fred Walheer - releasing records in Electronics/ Experimental/ Unclassical/ Drone/ Noise/ Concrete/ Spoken Words/ Rare recordings/ Rituals genres.

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