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The Golden Peacock: The Voice of the Yiddish Writer

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Golden Peacock

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The Golden Peacock
The Voice of the Yiddish Writer
Edited and Produced by Sheva Zucker
Audio Recordings on 1 CD, plus 2 Booklets

Reviewed by Herbert White - March 24, 2010

Di Goldene Pave: Dos Kol fun dem Yidishn Shrayber (The Golden Peacock: The Voice of the Yiddish Writer) is a CD that features ten different Yiddish writers reading their poetry and prose. The CD is accompanied by two booklets. One booklet contains biographies of the ten writers, and it is presented in Yiddish along with an English translation. The second booklet contains the detailed program of what is on the CD, along with the Yiddish text of the material being read, brief notes on the readings, and a glossary of the more difficult words in each reading. The words listed in the glossaries are accompanied by a transliteration of the words as well as a translation of the various words in English, Hebrew, and Russian.

The Golden Peacock is a marvelous collection on a variety of fronts. It is a great learning tool for students studying Yiddish or Jewish literature. It is a wonderful collection of prose, poetry, and even a few folksongs, all of which are sure to entertain those who are proficient in Yiddish. As well, these recordings are historic documents that present the works by both classic Yiddish writers as well as by modern writers. This CD allows readers to not only hear these works as the authors intended them to be read, but also to hear the various author's speaking in a variety of Yiddish dialects, as well as in standard Yiddish.

The authors represented in this collection include Sholem Aleichem, Yankev Glatshteyn, Celia Dropkin, H. Leivick, Aron Glanz-Leyeles, Kadya Molodowsky, Yente Mash, Avrom Sutzkever, Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, and Yekheil Shraibman. Each writer reads multiple works in this collection, which was edited and compiled by Sheva Zucker, the author of the essential Yiddish textbook, Yiddish: An Introduction to the Language, Literature & Culture, Volumes 1 and 2 and the current editor-in-chief of Afn Shvel, a Yiddish language cultural and literary magazine.

A note about the sound quality of this CD... The readings contained on this CD were not recorded professionally. Rather, they are live, and sometimes very amateurish recordings that also contain background noises and some are a bit scratchy and muffled. All the readings, however, are quite audible and I think that the way that they were recorded adds to the ambience and impact of the readings. If you close your eyes, you can really imagine that you are in the room with the reader as they are reading their work out loud. It is a soul-stirring experience that you need to experience for yourself!

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