Enter Mendel Werdyger, a lush - bearded 52 - year - old Hasidic Jew who runs a record shop on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn. With no college degree and no professional training in sound engineering, Mr. Werdyger has used advanced audio restoration programs on the ordinary computer in his ragtag office to patiently clean away the crackles, hisses and other distortions on those creaky old 78s.
The result: three compact discs with Mr. Rosenblatt singing 35 tracks, including prayers and even a folk chestnut, "Mein Yiddishe Mama". The first CD has sold 15,000 copies.
"It never sounded so clear, " said Bernard Beer, director of the Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music at Yeshiva University."I was brought up with this music and I know those recordings from childhood, and I listened to it and I told my associate there's no comparison to anything that was done before."
About five years ago, he started dabbling in audio restoration, cleaning up recordings of his father's music. Rosenblatt became his Everest.
Mr. Rosenblatt was born in Russia in 1882. In 1912 he immigrated to the United States and became the cantor at Ohab Zedek, an Orthodox synagogue then on 116th Street in Harlem. Blessed with a penetrating bell - like tenor with a range of two and a half octaves, and a gift for coloratura and falsetto, Mr. Rosenblatt had the ability to squeeze the pathos or elation out of every prayer.
"The key to Yossele Rosenblatt's kingship is he knew how to light a fire under the soul, " Mr. Werdyger said.
- Hineni (04:22)
- Rachem (08:53)
- Retzei (04:06)
- Tka Beshofar (07:01)
- Ato Yotzarto (08:57)
- Amar Rabbi Elozor (05:06)
- A Yiddishe Mamme (03:40)
- Lkel Orech (04:49)
- Akavia (04:48)
- Misratze (04:43)
- Acheinu (06:24)
- Shir Hamalos (02:53)
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