Romance "On a rainy autumn evening..." by David Medoff

On a rainy autumn evening,
A maiden was walking in far-off places
And the secret pledge of unrequited love
She was cradling in her quivering hands.

Alexander Pushkin

Is autumn a beautiful time or a dreary one? A time when the color of nature are at their brightest - or fading away? Sun and rain, splendor and dullness - autumn truly embraces all the contradictions of nature. This ambiguity and enigmatic nature of autumn has always attracted poets and painters as well as musicians. The talented artists have spared no spared no heavy shades for their autumn landscapes, many composers have been inspired by this marvellous season. Autumn holds a specific place in the works of Alexander Pushkin, including his lyceum years.

The pensive Romance -- "On a rainy autumn evening...", written is 1814 is the only text by Alexander Pushkin which has that kind of authorial genre definition. This poem by young Pushkin poem was published (probably without the author's knowledge) in 1827 by the editor Boris Fyodorov in the almanac “The National Muses Memorial” in 1827. The poem soon spread as a popular romance. It was then reprinted in various Songbooks. During the lifetime of Pushkin, the text of the Romance was published in cheap popular prints with appropriate illustrations; the earliest of these pictures appeared in 1832. From then on, various unknown painters continuously published cheap popular prints that met with invariable success.

Researchers link the reference of Pushkin to romance precisely by his interest to folk poetry. The "Romance" expresses complain of a child lonely mother and demonstrate reproaches towards her, ruefulness towards the fate of foundling as if it is the author’s own fate.

The museum Collection Sound Library features the romance "On a rainy autumn evening..." performed by David Medoff.

David Medoff (22 January 1888 - 28 August 1978) was a vocalist (tenor), singer of satirical songs and actor that sang in Yiddish, Russian, Ukrainian and English. One of the Union of Jewish Actors leaders in the USA. Medoff was born in in Elizavetgrad, Kherson province. In 1900, David parents moved to Kremenchug, where the boy was singing in the synagogue choir. Later the family moved to Bobruisk. There, in 1907, David Medoff stage career began – he was performing with a touring company troupe. Before the World War I, Medoff performed in various Russian-Ukrainian troupes. At that time, he married. Together with his wife Raisa Solovyova, they toured in Russia and abroad with great success. In 1915, he emigrated to the USA via Japan, where he was on tour. David Medoff debuted in Chicago, where he performed in operettas at the Yosef Kessler and Sarah Adler Imperial Theatre. In 1916, he got an engagement at Boris Tomaszewski National Theatre in New York, that casted Medoff in the role in the operetta “The Broken Violin” by Joseph Rumshinsky.

The aria that David Medoff sang in this operetta boosted his popularity and became his hallmark of success. David Medoff decided to remain onstage and entered the Union of Jewish Actors. Subsequently, he became one of its leaders. Without ceasing serving in the Jewish theatre, Medoff took every opportunity to perform on the Ukrainian stage, but was soon forced to stop it because of his Ukrainian collogues anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, on December 12, 1930, as a member of the Kunst Theatre in the Bronx, Medoff performed in the opera “Natalka Poltavka” by Ivan Kotlyarevsky, translated into Yiddish.

In the 1920-40s, David Medoff was actively recording for the major record companies of the time, mainly Columbia, Victor and Brunswick, so his records are fairly numerous, and not only with songs - David Medoff was an excellent story-teller and singer of satirical ballades, his comic sketches sounded very ingenious and funny.

David Medoff died on 28 August 1978 and was buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens, New York. His son Sam Medoff extend the family dynasty and became an artist, pianist and orchestrator, lead the Sam Medoff and His Yiddish Swing Orchestra, and later became music director at New York radio station WARD.

On the cover: Vase with the image of autumn landscape. France, Nancy. 1900-1907. Daum Freres manufactory