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Solomon Small

Solomon Smulewitz (1868–1943, also Shloyme Smulewitz, Solomon Small) was a Russian-born (later American) Jewish singer, badkhn, recording artist, and primarily composer for the Yiddish theatre. He was born on April 13, 1868 in Pinsk, White Russia (now Belarus)

His father was a cantor; Solomon sang in his chorus from the age of 5. When his father died seven years later Solomon went into the tailoring trade while still singing in cantorial choirs in exchange for his meals. He left to join the chorus of a traveling theater troupe and was very successful in girls' roles. After being left behind in an inn as a mashkn (pledge that the others would come back and pay their bill) he went back to the cantor in Pinsk but was thrown out. He became a street singer.

He wrote his first song at the age of 12: The desolate orphan, an autobiographical plaint. Having learned Russian he sang and played the fiddle from town to town, finally settling in Minsk, where he became a successful badkhn, also writing songs for other local wedding singers. He wrote for Shomer's play productions in Warsaw. He published his first book in 1891.

In America he toured singing his own songs, which eventually totalled around 500 (in a letter to the press he claimed 300 written to his own melodies and 200 set to melodies by others). The most famous were A brivele der mamen, Dos talesl, Al tashlicheinu, Khave, and Dos blumenkrentzele - these and others have through the years often been considered folksongs.

From 1905 to 1909 he issued a yearly collection of his lyrics called "Der teater zinger." In 1916 he published "Poeziye un lider." His 500-page autobiography was never published. His song "Khave" was so popular the famous Russian singer Feodor_Chaliapin included it in his repertoire. He was a prolific recording artist.

Smulewitz had a strong and piercing tenor voice which suited early recording capabilities well; after 1920 both his manner of singing and style of composition went out of fashion. Smulewitz fell on hard times and to make a living continuously toured the United States and Canada from Halifax to Calgary and Winnipeg, often with his daughter Dorothy, without much success. He died impoverished on January 1, 1943 in New York.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 13th, 1868 (Pinsk), Died January 1st, 1943 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1904 - 1936

Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor vocal, lyricist, composer

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 67 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor A-1568 7-in. 7/8/1904 Die fier kashes Lizzie Goldfinger ; Goldin Quartet Male vocal quartet, with piano lyricist  
Victor B-1568 10-in. 7/8/1904 Die fier kashes Lizzie Goldfinger ; Goldin Quartet Male vocal quartet, with piano lyricist  
Victor A-1573 7-in. 7/8/1904 The children's song Lizzie Goldfinger ; Goldin Quartet Male vocal quartet, with piano lyricist  
Victor B-1573 10-in. 7/8/1904 The children's song Lizzie Goldfinger ; Goldin Quartet Male vocal quartet, with piano lyricist  
Victor B-6625 10-in. 11/30/1908 A brivele der mame Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal, composer, lyricist  
Victor B-6626 10-in. 11/30/1908 Wart a kappale Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-6627 10-in. 11/30/1908 Dus fertriebene teibele Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-6628 10-in. 11/30/1908 Yhi oir Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal, lyricist  
Victor B-6629 10-in. 11/30/1908 A mensch sol mein sein Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-6630 10-in. 11/30/1908 Schlaf lied Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal, lyricist  
Victor B-6635 10-in. 12/2/1908 Schemen megt ihr sich Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal, lyricist  
Victor B-6636 10-in. 12/2/1908 Der ounig Schabes Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal, lyricist  
Victor B-6637 10-in. 12/2/1908 A Kaddisch'l der Mamen : Part II Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-6638 10-in. 12/2/1908 Dos Yiddische hertz Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-6639 10-in. 12/2/1908 A Nasch Solomon Smulewitz Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-9088 10-in. 6/14/1910 Wejiten l'cho Frances Simonoff Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Victor B-9094 10-in. 6/15/1910 Dos Yiddish herz Frances Simonoff Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist  
Victor C-9128 12-in. 6/23/1910 Die Blumenkrentze Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer, lyricist, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-9129 10-in. 6/23/1910 Shtoist Zich On Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-9130 10-in. 6/23/1910 Menschele sei nit genart Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-9131 10-in. 6/23/1910 Sog Gottenu Alein Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor C-9132 12-in. 6/24/1910 Das Thilem'l Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-9133 10-in. 6/24/1910 Das Kiduschen Ring Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist, composer, vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor C-9134 12-in. 6/24/1910 Das Yiddisches kind Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
Victor B-9135 10-in. 6/24/1910 Oi, is dos a mame Solomon Small Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, tenor vocal  
(Results 1-25 of 67 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Small, Solomon," accessed December 3, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110456.

Small, Solomon. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 3, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110456.

"Small, Solomon." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 3 December 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110456

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