Andrew Mellor, the reviews editor of this magazine has refused to consider our new CD, 'Di Sheyne Milnerin' - a Yiddish Die Schone Mullerin' for review as follows: A fascinating and worthy project but I’m afraid given our space limitations this was just a little too ethnically specific to warrant a review...
'ethnically specific.' What might that mean? What other music may it exclude? As one friend wrote, ' I find Cimarosa a bit too Neapolitan,'
A major ambition of ours, all along, has been to introduce the joys of Yiddish music, performed as art song, to an audience who might not have considered it was for them but then find themselves pleasantly surprised by what they hear. I know it works because I spent years introducing 'ethnically specific' songs into song recitals, almost always to find that they were the ones which had gone down best with the audience. I'm furious as are my label Nimbus and quite a few others who have now been made aware of Mellor's remark. Here is my own reply to him:
Dear Andrew Mellor
I was perturbed to see your response to John Cronin in regard to our new CD, 'Di Sheyne Milnerin'. It suggests you are, perhaps, unaware that the late, great John Steane himself gave a very good review to its predecessor, 'A Yiddish Winterreise'. You might be interested to know that Mr Steane himself had qualms about 'A Yiddish Winterreise', until he heard the CD. His review was so positive that it has been quoted by us ever since. I myself am a former international operatic soloist, Alexander Knapp an ethnomusicologist of international repute with a background as a classical pianist. A major aim of ours is to introduce Yiddish music, in a classical style, to an audience weaned on Lieder who will be more than pleasantly surprised by what they have discovered. We have performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington with resounding success (asked back to perform in 2013 and 2014 as a result), at the Purcell Room, at Leeds Lieder Festival, New York Symphony Space and the Chicago Cultural Center amongst many other venues. Naxos and Nimbus are, as you know, serious classical labels. They have not taken us on without reason. It would be appreciated if you would at least grant 'Di Sheyne Milnerin' the space allowed to its predecessor 'A Yiddish Winterreise.'
Have a listen to the clips available on Nimbus and see if you find them 'too ethnically specific.'http://www.wyastone.co.uk/di-sheyne-milnerin-schubert-s-cycle-of-love-forlorn-retold-in-yiddish-song.html