15 Klezmer pieces by Isidore Moscovitz (New York, 1925-27)

I recently received another batch of digitized klezmer copyright scores from the U. S. Library of Congress. (You can see the whole batch here on google drive, which includes some other scores by I. J. Hochman.) I was pleased to finally get 15 of the 16 scores by Isidore Moscovitz, a klezmer from New York. (The LOC couldn’t locate the 16th, a 1926 piece called “Rumanian folks dance; by I. Moscovitz.”) As I mentioned in my post about US klezmer copyright scores, I was especially curious about Moscovitz since he wasn’t a known recording artist or bandleader from the 78 rpm recording industry.

I was hoping that the scores would contain some extra information that would help me identify Moscovitz, but unfortunately there was nothing beyond the music and title info. A friend suggested comparing his signature on the music to ones in immigration documents, which is an interesting idea I’ll have to look into later.

My basic assumption is that he was a klezmer born in Romania in the late nineteenth century, who emigrated to New York and became a citizen by the 1910s. Based on some of the place names in his tune titles (Iași, Galați, Brăila), maybe he was from the Eastern or Moldavian part of Romania, like his more famous New York contemporaries Joseph Moskowitz and Max Leibowitz. Like the tunes copyrighted or recorded by those two, they consist of a mix of husids, sirbas, bulgars, etc. I have no idea if he composed these, if he learned them in Romania or New York, or what motivated him to copyright pieces without apparently recording or publishing them.

Here are the pieces. The scans are not particularly high quality, but if you want the original scans go find the PDFs in the Google Drive I linked at the top. I’d love to know if you play or record them, feel free to get in touch.

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