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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55676
Doc. No:TL25630
Call number:‭NR07784‬
Main Entry:Benita Wolters-Fredlund
Title & Author:“We shall go forward with our songs into the fight for better life”: Identity and musical meaning in the history of the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, 1925–1959Benita Wolters-Fredlund
College:University of Toronto (Canada)
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:310
Abstract:This project explores the early years of the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir (known initially as the Freiheit Gezang Farein or Freedom Singing Society), a mixed amateur ensemble with roots in the secular Jewish labour movement. I cover the choir's beginnings in 1925 through the departure of their dynamic conductor Emil Gartner in 1959, looking in particular at the development of the group's identity and their understanding of musical meaning. Chapter 1 clarifies the choir's historical background, including Jewish immigration to Canada, the development of the Jewish labour movement and the Yiddish folk chorus tradition. Details about key activities, events and people during the choir's inaugural years (1925-1939) and during the Gartner years (1939-1959) are also outlined. A theoretical discussion of issues of identity and musical meaning can be found in Chapter 2, in which I argue that the choir's identity and their interpretations of musical genres and works were shaped in large part through their discourse, and that through musical activity their identity was both expressed and constituted. Drawing primarily on the choir's own texts (programme notes and essays, choir bulletins, clippings, etc.) as found in the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir fonds at the Library and Archives Canada, I map out four separate but overlapping facets of identity taken on by the choir: politically progressive, working-class, Jewish, and Canadian. The final three chapters offer examinations of the choir's understanding of musical genres and works. Again drawing on the choir's own discourse, I clarify the significance of contemporary, classical and folk genres for the choir as well as the relationship of these genres to the choir's identity and mission. A more detailed analysis of the meanings associated with specific works is given for the choir's performances of Max Helfman's Di Naye Hagode, Shostakovich's Song of the Forests, Handel's Judas Maccabaeus, Beethoven's The Glorious Hour, and a variety of folk and song repertoire, including Yiddish socialist and labour songs, songs related to historical events (the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and the emergence of the state of Israel), and African-American Spirituals.
Subject:Communication and the arts; Choir; Identity; Musical meaning; Ontario; Songs; Toronto Jewish Folk Choir; Music; 0413:Music
Added Entry:University of Toronto (Canada)