Belz (Belts) - Modern Choral Arrangement




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Published on Feb 25, 2016

Words: Jacob Jacobs (1890-1972)
Melody: Alexander Olshanetsky (1892-1946)
Choral arrangement: Binyumen Schaechter

Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus (JPPC)
Binyumen Schaechter, conductor
Shinae Kim, pianist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thejppc
Website: http://www.TheJPPC.org
Contact: information@TheJPPC.org

Filmed live in performance
November 1, 2015 • Merkin Concert Hall, NYC

Videography by Asaf Blasberg: http://asafblasberg.com
Post-production by Sam Zerin

Jacobs and Olshanetsky originally wrote their hit song "Belz" for the musical play "Geto-lid", "Ghetto Song", in 1932 (although some sources erroneously give the date as 1928 or 1930). There's a popular misconception about the pronunciation of the song's title and therefore, also, about the Eastern European city it is referring to. At the turn of the 20th century, there were two Jewish cities in Eastern Europe with very similar names: a Bessarabian (later Moldovan) city with a name pronounced "Belts" and a Polish (later Ukrainian) city with a name pronounced "Bells." This song has most often been published with the transliterated title "Belz", which, following the German spelling system, should be pronounced "Belts", referring to the Bessarabian city of that name. However, when English-speakers read the transliterated title "Belz", they mistakenly pronounce it according to English spelling rules – "Bells" – and therefore have come to associate it with the Polish city. In fact, contrary to popular misconception, this song's title is pronounced "Belts" and refers to the Bessarabian city of that name, not to the Polish city whose name is pronounced "Bells." In case you were wondering!

Binyumen Schaechter composed this stunning choral arrangement in March 2015 for the Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus, and it was premiered by this chorus at Symphony Space, New York City, on May 31, 2015.


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