MUSICIANmilestones...recent obits of classical and traditional popular music performers and composers
Issachar Miron (a.k.a. Stefan Michrovsky)
Miron, born in 1919, (died January 29, 2015 at 95). He left Poland at the age of 19, thus avoiding the Holocaust. In 1941, while serving in the Jewish Brigade of the British forces, he composed the melody for lyrics written by Chagiz. The song became popular in Palestine and was played on the Israeli radio.
Julius Grossman, who did not know who composed the song, wrote the so-called third part of 'Tzena' about November 1946. Gordon Jenkins made an arrangement of the song for The Weavers, who sang it with Jenkins' orchestra as backing. The Jenkins/Weavers version, released by Decca Records under catalog number 27077, was one side of a two-sided hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard magazine charts while the flip side, "Goodnight Irene," reached #1.
Cromwell Music Inc., a subsidiary of Richmond/TRO, claimed the rights to the song, and had licensed the Decca release. They alleged the music to have been composed by a person named Spencer Ross, though in reality this was a fictitious persona constructed to hide the melody's true authorship. Mills Music, Inc., Miron's publisher, sued Cromwell (TRO) and won. The presiding judge also dismissed Cromwell's claim that the melody was based on a traditional folk song and was thus in the public domain.
Arounds the '80s, Israeli folk star Ron (Ran) Eliran recorded the song along with 14 more songs by Miron to make a CD together called, Sing to Me Eretz Yisrael.
The original English lyric, written by Mitchell Parish, was greatly altered in the version recorded by The Weavers. Other charting versions were recorded by Vic Damone and Mitch Miller's Orchestra. A humorous version, entitled "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena" was recorded by the Smothers Brothers on their 1961 debut album, The Smothers Brothers at the Purple Onion. The newest version was released in October, 2012 by Bruce Berger, also known as Rebbe Soul. The arrangement is highly rhythmic, contemporary, and upbeat. Guitarist Chet Atkins also recorded the song--without lyrics--on his 1960 album The Other Chet Atkins