The Max and Frieda Weinstein Archives of Recorded Sound houses over 15,000 recordings, including 78, 45, and 33 rpm discs; cylinder recordings; open-reel and cassette tapes; piano rolls; and compact discs. The collection includes both music and spoken word recordings, and also contains record catalogs, and other materials related to the history of recorded Jewish music. The earliest item in the collection is a wax cylinder, dating from 1900.
YIVO's collection of recorded Jewish music is one of the most extensive and frequently consulted in the world. It embraces all genres, including:
The collection includes unique test recordings never released by the record companies that made them, as well as the only known surviving examples of some released recordings.
The Sound Archives also has custody of spoken word and field recordings originating in other record groups in the Archives, including:
For inquiries about recorded sound holdings in the YIVO Archives or for a Sound Archive research appointment, contact YIVO Sound Archivist, Lorin Sklamberg, (212) 294-6169.
Note: To hear the audio excerpts you must have RealPlayer version 6.0 or higher installed on your system. The player can be downloaded for free from the RealPlayer Home Page.
Ven ikh bin a Rotshild (If I Were a Rothschild) (749kb)
A 1915 "trial" recording made in New York City of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem reading an excerpt of one of his best-known humor pieces.
A pre-World War I recording of Belf's Rumanian Orchestra playing a klezmer dance tune, Bucharest, Rumania.
Tshastushki: Lomir zikh tsukishn (Let's Kiss Each Other) (885kb)
Singer: Aaron Lebedeff
Composer: Alexander Olshanetzky
A Yiddish/Russian song from the Yiddish theater production, Goldene teg (Golden Days), recorded in 1928 in New York City.
Uvyom simkhaskhem (On Your Joyous Occasion) (726kb)
An early acoustic recording of Cantor Josef (Yossele) Rosenblatt.