About this work, P.
told to Zalmen Zylbercweig:
"Goldfaden's nature was
such that when he used to take an actor or a chorister
into a troupe, he used to ask him to sing to him what
musical numbers he could. When that number would please him, and he had the privilege(?) at times use it for his play, G. used to leave to write
this music in a special book. When Goldfaden came to
Lemberg and wanted to stage the previously mentioned
plays, he gave us this book with the beautiful melodies,
and I had to fit them into such musical numbers that
might correspond with the character of the operetta.
Some melodies I combined from several different (ones),
others I created and performed, and other melodies
I wrote alone."
Joseph Rumshinsky writes
about that epoch:
encircled himself with choir boys, cantors, musicians,
but he mostly edited his plays with (only) two musicians
-- Michal Finkelstein and Arnold Perlmutter....they both
were, in their very early years, choir boys for cantors
and later violinists in orchestras. This gave them the
possibility to know the synagogue melodies and secular
music, and even the German and French operettas.
Michal Finkelstein and
Arnold Perlmutter had incorporated the marches and
waltzes from the German and French operettas into the
historical plays of Goldfaden, Horowitz and Lateiner, and
in fact those historical operettas were put together
from cantorial prayers and melodies, with marches and
waltzes from secular operettas, with several numbers of
original music by Abraham Goldfaden, whose melodies
captured the entire Yiddish and even non-Yiddish world."
Afterwards P. entered into
the troupe of Treitler and Yuvelir (Juvelier), with whom he toured
as a conductor and composed across Galicia, Romania
(1893-1895), where on 21 January 1895 there was staged
in "Jignitsa" in Bucharest, Isaac Khayat's operetta "Eliyahu
hanovi", and across Russia (1899). From Czernowitz,
Bukovina (1900), Professor Horowitz took the entire
troupe to America.
In New York, in the "Windsor
Theatre", P. became associated with composer Herman
Wohl, with whom he worked together with for a span of many
years. So here their compositions were staged for: "Der
nayer moshiakh", or "David alray" by Jacob
Terr (8 February 1901), then to Prof. Horowitz's operetta
"Ben hador" and "Di muzinke, oder
di talisim-veber" (1901), "Di tsvey tnim"
(1902), "Bnai Yisrael" (1904), "Itsias mtsrim",
"Jacob and Esau", and to tens of other of
Hurwitz's plays, as well as "Di almone" and "A
mentsh zol men zayn" by Anshel Schorr.
On 19 December 1906 in New
York's "Academy of Music", there was staged by
Larimer in English "Der pastuch-kenig (The Shepherd
King)", a romantic drama in four acts and five scenes,
music by P. and Wohl.
Engaged at the "People's
Theatre", he both wrote and composed the music to
Thomashefsky's "Dos pintele yid (The Dotted Jew)" (29 September
1909), "Di sheyne amerikanerin" (17 January
1910), "Der poylisher yid" (13 October 1910), and
"Dos dorfs-meydl", subject of Rakov (13 April
1911), to Thomashefsky's "Di neshome fun mayn falk, oder
Der ungarisher zinger" (6 October 1911), "Di
rayze keyn amerike", subject of Dr. Shnitzer (31
March 1912), and later in the "National Theatre", where
on 25 September 1912, there was staged Thomashefsky's "Di
yidishe fan, oder "Mayn natsion" by I.
and "Di yidishe kroyn" (22 April 1913), subject
In the 1913-1914 season,
here there was staged Thomashefsky's "Dos
farblandzshete shefele (The Lost Sheep)", which previously was staged
in Europe during his guest appearance, and "Himel,
erd un shvindl".
In the 1914-1915 season, P.
wrote, and Wohl the music to Thomashefsky's "Di
poylisher khasene" (2 October 1914), and in the
1915-1916 -- to Thomashefsky's "Das toirele (The
and to Rakov's "Hello nyuyork (Hello, New York)".
About P.'s and Wohl's
collaboration, Joseph Rumshinsky writes:
"Perlmutter and Wohl are a
recognized musical label. Their music to Professor
Horowitz's plays, later with Boris Thomashefsky, captured
the Jewish street. They have introduced beautiful
lyrics, Yiddish, Chasidic, Chorusled, and even
the religious, and instructional lesson-like songs(?),
such as 'Dos tlis'l', 'A mentsh zol men zayn'.
What is remarkable is that
from what we have of them, we could never escape the
'who is who', i.e., which of them had composed the
Chasidic melody and which -- the modern waltz.
We used to try to find the
Yiddish melodies that were Herman Wohl's, and the
secular -- Arnold Perlmutter's. We once highlighted
precisely that the packages that were very popular
Yiddish melodies were Arnold Perlmutter's, and a modern
waltz from a younger Chasidic Herman Wohl. And in fact
therefore, the combination was a very successful one for
Later the "Perlmutter and
Wohl" team disbanded, and P. became an independent
composer, conductor and initially a violinist in Gabel's
theatre, where he wrote and in the span of two years
music to many plays, including to Rakov and Gabel's "Farlozt
zikh oyf keydi" (10 January 1919).
September 1920 through
Maurice Schwartz, there was staged in his "Art Theatre",
Y. L. Peretz's "Goldene keyt", with P.'s famous
melodies to "Shabbas kodesh".
In 1922 P. was associated
with the "Lenox Theatre" in the Bronx (Director: Nathan
Goldberg and Jacob Jacobs), for which he wrote many
numbers to lebensbilds, and also for entire
operettas, which were performed at the same time in
Lillian's "Lyric Theatre" -- among the others to: "Reyzele
fun tsheynatown (Reizele from Chinatown)" by William Siegel (27 October
1922), also performed under the name "Rukhl mekart"
in the "Lyric Theatre" (31 August 1923), "Di
amerikaner grinhorns" by Siegel (9 November 1923),
also performed under the name "A gast tsum seder"
(30 March 1926) in the "Lyric Theatre", "A kale on a
khasen" by Isidore Lillian (13 April 1923) in the
"Lyric Theatre", "Falshe geter" by Lillian (29
September 1924) in the "Lyric Theatre", which was staged
under the name of "Leydeis fun der nakht (Ladies
of the Night)" on 1
May 1925 in the "Lenox Theatre", "Palestiner liebe
by Lillian (26 December 1924) in the "Lyric Theatre", "Mitn
rbins khukh" by Lillian (8 December 1925) in the
"Lyric Theatre", "Khlumus fun libe" by Lillian
(14 January 1927) in the "Lyric Theatre", which also
under the name "Dos lid fun yungt" was performed
in the "Lenox Theatre".
From the "Lenox Theatre", P.
went over to Goldberg and Jacobs' "Prospect Theatre",
where there was staged with his music on 9
September 1927 N. Stutchkoff's operetta "Farges mikh
nit (Forget Me Not)" and Moshe Richter's "Hoykhe fenster
In the 1929-1930 season, P.
wrote music for the "Hopkinson Theatre", where there was
staged Isidore Lash's "Nit-gezetslekhe kinder"
(28 January 1930), and S. H. Cohen's "Di libe fun a
ganev" (21 February 1930).
After that season, P.
withdrew from the theatre, although he also continued to write music.
On 16 June 1940, the
"Society of Jewish Composers" honored P. with a banquet.
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 251.
(ms) -- Z sali
koncertowej, Kurjer Lwowski, 15/4 1889.
M. Kipnus -- Tsvey
tnim, "Teater-velt", Warsaw, 11, 1908.
Jacob Mestel --
Galitsianer beym amerikaner yudishen teater, "Togenblat",
Lemberg, 29 March 1926.
L. Fogelman -- "Farges
mikh nit", a muzikalishe piese, in prospekt theater,
"Forward", N. Y., 15 September 1927.
A. Frumkin -- Vegen
muzik un suzheten far operetes amol un haynt,
"Morning Journal", N. Y., 9 March 1928.
A. Frumkin -- Kemft
mit'n "vilen fun der tseyt", "Morning Journal", N.
Y., 23 March 1928.
J. Kirschenbaum --
Arnold perlmuter hot geshafen di muzik far
goldfaden's opereten, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 8
Sholem Perlmutter --
Arnld perlmuter, veteran fun idishen teater, morgen
geert fun idishe kompozitoren, "Der tog", N. Y., 15
J. Kirschenbaum --
80-yohriger yubl fun ershten teater-muziker gefeyert
haynt, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 16 June 1940.
Joseph Rumshinsky --
"Klangen fun mayn lebn", N. Y., 1944, pp. 809-813.