Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


H. [Hershel] Mayarovitsh


Born on 6 September 1918 in Sighet, Hungary, where he received a traditional Jewish education and also completed the folkshul there. From childhood on he was excited by music, and more, even as a young boy he went away on foot to Vienna, where he first worked as a milk distributor on a farm, did various trades and sporadically took lessons in music [given] by various teachers from the Vienna conservatory.

On the eve of Austria being occupied by the Nazis, he returned to Romania and settled in Cluj, where he again took lessons in music with various music teachers, until, due to racist laws, the Jewish-Hungarian actors founded independent troupes, and for that ensemble, M. wrote music for spectacles. Soon however, he was taken into forced labor in a camp in Mödling, Austria. In 1945, after the Liberation, he came back to Sighet, and not finding any of his family who were killed by the Nazis, he settled in Cluj, where he began his actual compositional activity. He created music for puppet plays, for many staged plays, for films and music to several plays in the Romanian Jewish State Theatre, such as Gordin's "God, Man and Devil", ""Shpilt a freylekhs", Sholem Aleichem's "Stempenyu", the ballet-pantomime "Der oyshtand in der varshever geto", and to "Tsen brider zeynen mir geven" by H. Slaves.

Julian Schwartz about his compositions for Yiddish theatre:


"The three fantasies for violin, the suite of symphonic dance, the 16 melodies to songs-texts [in "Stempenyu"], the music from the bizarre sound of the dream (khlum) song, as well as the organized music for a spectacle, were in the style of folks style and folk songs, and demonstrated as umoyssheflekh, it is the source of our Jewish musicianship and power when it becomes forbidden in a spirited, modern way. ... The body of the music, the melody of kinus [in "Tsen brider zeynen mir geven"], woven together with the dramatic highpoints. They typify the lyrics and dramatic moments of a spectacle, turning to the heart of the audience".

M. E. from Julian Schwartz.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6233.

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