David Botwinik | From Holocaust to Life

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From Holocaust to Life

by David Botwinik

Internationally acclaimed singers Lisa Willson, John Packard and Ian DeNolfo join forces in this exquisite collection of 15 Yiddish Art Songs, featuring original music by Vilna-born Montreal composer David Botwinik and lyrics by various poets.
Genre: World: Yiddish
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Shabes-Lid (feat. Lisa Willson)
4:20 $0.99
2. Nishto Mer (feat. Lisa Willson)
4:08 $0.99
3. Men Ruft Mikh Milyon (feat. Ian DeNolfo)
4:15 $0.99
4. Far Undz Iz Dos Lebn Farbotn (feat. Lisa Willson)
5:24 $0.99
5. Di Yunge Mame (feat. Lisa Willson)
7:11 $0.99
6. Khalutsim-Lid (feat. John Packard)
2:15 $0.99
7. Mapilim-Lid (feat. Lisa Willson & Ian DeNolfo)
3:14 $0.99
8. Yidishe Oygn (feat. John Packard)
4:18 $0.99
9. Vu Bistu Itster, Vu? (feat. Lisa Willson)
3:22 $0.99
10. Der Letster Zumer (feat. John Packard)
3:14 $0.99
11. Kum, Yeshayes Kholem (feat. Lisa Willson)
3:09 $0.99
12. Kumt Tsu Undz (feat. John Packard)
2:07 $0.99
13. Lekoved Simkhes-Toyre (feat. John Packard & Lisa Willson)
2:19 $0.99
14. Rokhele (feat. Louis Danto)
5:16 $0.99
15. Di Litvishe Shtetele (feat. Louis Danto)
4:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Internationally acclaimed opera singers Lisa Willson, John Packard and Ian DeNolfo bring to life these dramatic and poignant Yiddish Art Songs, with 2 bonus songs performed by world-renowned tenor Louis Danto. All the music is by Montreal-based composer David Botwinik (born 1920, Vilna), with lyrics by various poets.

The CD includes a 32-page booklet with Yiddish lyrics, transliteration and English and Hebrew translations.

In 2010, the League for Yiddish published “From Holocaust to Life,” a 392-page book which includes the musical score, lyrics, transliteration and English translation of these 15 songs as well as 41 more. We are very excited to be presenting this first CD with a selection of songs from the book.


Lisa Willson, internationally acclaimed soprano, has been praised for her vocal beauty and purity of tone.

Opera Magazine wrote of American singer John Packard that his is “a seamless voice, with character and gleaming upper register.”

Ian DeNolfo, one of the most exciting artists of his generation, has been featured in many of the leading opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera and Teatro alla Scala.

Louis Danto (1929-2010) was renowned for the rare beauty and purity of his voice, its mastery and control, and for his breathtaking emotional expression.


“Oh, what a joy, what a pleasure! …the sounds and melodies of the Jewish soul sing out. …Botwinik’s music breathes fresh life into these poems.”
— Dr. Rakhmiel Peltz
Director of Judaic Studies, Professor of Sociolinguistics
Drexel University, Philadelphia

“It was a pleasure for me to learn and perform several of David Botwinik’s compositions. I was always impressed with his talent to express in music and lyrics the pain and horrors of the Holocaust. It is amazing that from ashes arose such beautiful works.”
— Louis Danto (z"l)
Cantor Emeritus, Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue, Toronto

“The title of this formidable opus is a reflection of the broad spectrum of Yiddish songs composed by David Botwinik. …Botwinik not only composed the music. In many numbers he also wrote the very personal and emotional Yiddish texts. Botwinik chooses a classical harmonic structure, and is able to express the complete gamut of human emotions with his very effective piano accompaniments. The vocal lines are mostly lyrical with dramatic effects reflecting the texts, leaving the listener emotionally moved by the experience. “From Holocaust to Life” is David Botwinik's unique and valuable legacy to the Yiddish Song.”
— Maestro Lou Burko (z"l)
Music Director Shaare Zion Congregation, Montreal
Conductor-Arranger radio station CKVL-FM Concert Orchestra

“…David Botwinik, a very gifted melodist and composer. Botwinik is... able to penetrate the meaning of every word of the poems that he sets. The musical settings range from simple folk-like melodies…to highly sophisticated compositions with a rich piano accompaniment.”
— Dr. Eliyahu Schleifer
Professor and Director, School of Sacred Music, HUC-JIR, Jerusalem

“It’s also a sweeping portrait of Jewish suffering and joy, with songs that cry out from the persecution of czarist and Nazi regimes, then celebrate life born of renewal, faith and tradition.”
— Heather Solomon, Canadian Jewish News, July 15, 2010

“These Yiddish art songs are truly beautiful. David Botwinik has a gift for the art of melody. Each song lends itself beautifully to the voice and each note is inlaid with beauty and pathos.”
— Lisa Willson, soprano


1. Shabes-lid – Sabbath Song
(Lisa Willson, soprano; Elizabeth Manus, piano)

2. Nishto mer – No More
(Lisa Willson, soprano; Elena Berman, piano)

3. Men ruft mikh milyon – I Am Called Million
(Ian DeNolfo, tenor; Lisa Willson, piano)

4. Far undz iz dos lebn farbotn – For Us, Living Is Forbidden
(Lisa Willson, soprano; Elena Berman, piano)

5. Di yunge mame – The Young Mother
(Lisa Willson, soprano; Elena Berman, piano)

6. Khalutsim-lid – Pioneer Song
(John Packard, heldentenor; Alexander Botwinik, piano)

7. Mapilim-lid – Mapilim Song
(Lisa Willson, soprano; Ian DeNolfo, tenor; Elena Berman, piano)

8. Yidishe oygn – Jewish Eyes
(John Packard, heldentenor; Elena Berman, piano)

9. Vu bistu itster, vu? – Where Are You Now?
(Lisa Willson, soprano; Elena Berman, piano)

10. Der letster zumer – The Last Summer
(John Packard, heldentenor; Elena Berman, piano)

11. Kum, Yeshayes kholem – Come, Isaiah’s Dream
(Lisa Willson, all voices and piano)

12. Kumt tsu undz – Come to Us
(John Packard, heldentenor; Alexander Botwinik, piano)

13. Lekoved simkhes-toyre – In Honor of Simkhat Torah
(John Packard, heldentenor, Lisa Willson, soprano; Elizabeth Manus, piano)

14. Rokhele – Rokhele
(Louis Danto, tenor; Abe Ellstein, piano)

15. Di litvishe shtetele – The Little Lithuanian Town
(Louis Danto, tenor; Abe Ellstein, piano)



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