ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  ISRAEL SHAYEVITSH


Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE;
aS FEATURED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S  "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"


VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City

 

 

Israel Shayevitsh


His parents were the Yiddish actors Dina and Yosef Shayevitsh. He was raised through his stepfather, the actor Avraham Kurts. For a profession he worked as a hairdresser. According to Dr. Weichert, he was a musical auto-didact, However, according to Jonas Turkow , Sh. accomplished composition and direction, and the Warsaw Conservatory. Sh. worked in a series of Yiddish theatres as a conductor and composer.

So he wrote illustration-music to Lope de Vega's "Shepsn-kval," which Ida Kaminska staged in Warsaw's "Novoshtshi" Theatre, and the music to Tunkeler's musical comedy, "Gost ganevim," which the "Vilna Troupe" staged in January 1935.

Sh. also wrote the music to Jacob Prager's "Meylekh fraylekh," which was presented on 2 December 1938 in Lodz and was strongly utilized, and it was later played in Warsaw, in the "Novoshtshi" Theatre.

About the writing of the leader of the play, Dr. M. Weichert writes:

I chose music from Israel Shayevitsh. He was a theatre child, a son of the artists Sh. Shayevitsh, and a stepson of actor A. Kurts. He was a hairdresser as a profession, and he was a musical auto-didact (!). His music for "Meylekh freylekh" (Cheerful and Gay) was very melodic and popular, but not vulgar. Before the finale, he did some hair projects until something came out right.

...The music in "Meylekh freylekh" is similar to that in "Kiddush Hashem'"...was an integral part of the spectacle, appreciating the effects of a performance in the public, the historian of the Yiddish theatre -- if one ever finds one -- must familiarize himself with the vocal and instrumental music of each performance.

Jonas Turkow characterizes him this way:

"Israel Shayevitsh was one of the best and most talented in the Yiddish music world. He completed the Warsaw Conservatory (composition and direction), and began writing very much original music."

B. Kutsher recalls that Sh. in Warsaw's cinema theatre "Fama," with a Jewish symphonic orchestra, conducted Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony."

According to Jonas Turkow, Sh. fled from the Germans, when they captured Poland in the East. B. Kutshner portrayed this escape fictionally in his book, "Geven amol varshe":

"The younger composer Israel Shayevitsh changes my mind to keep going... I have a well-known Jew on Nalewki 27. He has several directors... With him I had a discussion had lunch with him, early at six in the morning. If you like, both of us will go. 'And the families? Wives must not run... Wives and children do nothing..."

They let themselves go, and it runs through a black kitten and disappears.

"Shayevitsh grabs your hand: 'See? What?,' 'I mean, no, it's not a good sign... running so hard on your feet.'

Although Kutsher is not a believer, he cannot worry about this remark. The Nalewki, where the Jews live, now very quiet out of fear, and it's still early. They stare at the stubborn glances of the prickly looks of the Polish struge.

"Fallen should be strengthened, but Sh.'s steps get weaker, but do a jab at the sleeve. 'Maybe not go in? Why? ' 'See you then ...' 'Yes, I see, but we must go in. Secondly, whether he comes alone. In every way, such glances have been met. Perhaps they mean nothing. The signs are simply that a Jew still ventures into the street today..."

The Jew declares to them that the leader will soon arrive, and in an hour the bus that goes to Sokolow stops. There are leading Jews there. There was a direct road from Warsaw to Bialystok. He was wrong. Germans seized the leader and also shot two Jews.

"'Shot?' 'This is a guest thing. Whomever it is ... well, decide. People will soon have to move in the road. Just fear ... hundreds of Jews have already passed '...'Is it, you know, not sure? ' Anyone who knows' ..."

Sh., indeed, fell by the hands of the Germans and died with a martyr's death.

  • Yanni -- Di muzik fun meylekh freylekh, "Nayer folksblat," Lodz, 30 November 1938.

  • Jonas Turkow -- "Extinguished Stars," Buenos Aires, 1953, Vol. 1, p.114.

  • B. Kutsher -- "Geven amol varshe," Paris, 1955, pp. 266, 302, 305, 306.

  • Michael Weichert -- "Zikhrones," Vol. 2, Tel Aviv, 1961, p. 343.


 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4570.
 

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