Irving Berlin: Don’t Send Me Back to Petrograd

Written by Joshua Breitzer


In category: Song of the Day

Published September 26, 2017

We like to think of Irving Berlin as one of the most quintessentially American songwriters, but like so many of them, he had his roots elsewhere. He wrote this little-known tune for Fanny Brice in 1925, soon after legislation had been passed placing quotas on immigration. In this live recording by the incomparable Judy Blazer and NYFOS’s own Michael Barrett, listen for lyrics like “There’s millions of people on the shore / Why can’t you make room for just one more” and marvel at how relevant Berlin’s piece still is.

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Joshua Breitzer is cantor and music director of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn. Considered one of his generation’s leading talents, Cantor Breitzer has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall. For the past several years, he has appeared with NYFOS in our annual “A Goyishe Christmas to You!” program, and has coached several NYFOS’s Emerging Artists on Jewish repertoire.


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    Hi there! Do you know if there’s sheet music available for this song? I’m somewhat taken with it, and would love to add it to a program. Thank you, and thank you for sharing.


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