We list here a number of new transcriptions, and some older titles of special interest. All are for string quartet unless otherwise noted.
A Movement for String Quartet by H. S. M. (Donald) Coxeter
H. S. M. Coxeter (1907-2003) was a distinguished and influential geometer and mathematician, whose career at the University of Toronto spanned six decades. As a young man he showed equal talent for mathematics and music; he was an accomplished pianist by the age of 10, and composed songs, piano pieces, and incidental music for a Chesterton play (Magic), among other works.
In May, 2004, the Fields Institute held a Symposium in his honour, at which many of his former students, and other research mathematicians, spoke on topics arising from his work. A concert was prepared as part of that Symposium, which included two of his songs, an untitled piano piece, and a movement for string quartet, written in 1923.
The young Coxeter had absorbed the late-19th-century musical vocabulary, but he uses it very much in his own way. His Movement for String Quartet is a substantial and charming piece, well worth playing and hearing. It has not previously been published, or available in any form.
Score and set of parts, $15.
Eyli, Eyli — in transcription for string quartet
Eyli, Eyli, probably the most frequently re-published Yiddish song, was written by Jacob Sandler (186?-1931) for a play staged in New York in 1896. It was first published, in an arrangement by H. A. Russotto, in 1907. The song was part of Al Jolson’s repertoire, and Mischa Elman made and recorded a transcription for violin and piano. During World War II, Eyli, Eyli was sung by Miriam Eisenstadt, “the nightingale of the Warsaw Ghetto”. More recently, the song was one of the first recorded by Jewish singers in Soviet Russia after the thaw. The text begins “Eyli, eyli, lomo azavtoni?” (My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?)
Score, text, and parts — $10
Zog Nit Keyn Mol (Partisan Hymn)
This haunting song, with Yiddish text written in 1943 by Hirsh Glick, was adopted as an anthem by numerous Jewish resistance groups in Eastern Europe during World War II. Since the war it has become an anthem of Holocaust survivors. This version for string quartet has (like the original) five verses, distributed democratically among the four instruments. The text, in Yiddish and English, is included. The first line is: Zog nit keynmol az du gayst dem letzten veg (Never say that this is the end of the road). Score, text, and parts — $10.
More: A recording of Paul Robeson singing Zog Nit Keyn Mol in Moscow in 1949 can be found here. NOTE: among the photos accompanying this recording is one apparently showing the front page of the New York Times for May 10, 1943, with a headline reading “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising an Over-Reaction” and several similarly scurrilous subheads. In fact this is a (poor attempt at) satire and not a genuine New York Times page. See this page