Kristallnacht (album)

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Kristallnacht (album).jpg
Studio album by
RecordedNovember 9 & 10, 1992
LabelEva, Tzadik
ProducerJohn Zorn
John Zorn chronology
Leng Tch'e
Rituals: Live in Japan

Kristallnacht is an album by John Zorn first released in 1993 on the Japanese Eva label and subsequently in 1995 on Zorn's own Tzadik Records label.[1]


Zorn's compositions for the album were based around the events before, during, and following the infamous Night of Broken Glass and represented his first musical exploration of his Jewish cultural heritage.[2]

Zorn has stated:

It’s tied together with passion and research. Every Jew has to come to grips with the holocaust in some kind of way and that was my statement, that’s how I did it. I do not need to do it again (…) it meant a lot to me. It was like a whole lifetime of denying my Jewish heritage coming out in one piece -- "John Zorn on BBC Jazz File," July 2000.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[3]
Guy's Music Review7/10 stars[4]

The Allmusic review by Joslyn Layne awarded the album 4½ stars stating "John Zorn has created a musical work that powerfully represents the different stages of this historical event... Zorn's forceful undertaking is realized through the expert and passionate musicianship".[3] Guy Peters stated "Kristallnacht is an attempt at a musical recreation of one of the darkest chapters of the Nazi reign, with music ranging from fairly conventional roots music to extreme near-industrial chaos... Zorn has never aimed at major popularity, preferring total independence above all, and this is what makes an album like Kristallnacht possible... Luckily there are several tracks in which he finds a much more impressive and bearable balance between disturbing noise and affecting beauty, a combination that’s characteristic of several of his releases. Or maybe it’s about disturbing beauty and affecting noise, I’m not entirely sure".[4]

Track listing[edit]

1."Shtetl (Ghetto Life)"5:55
2."Never Again"11:46
3."Gahelet (Embers)"3:27
4."Tikkun (Rectification)"3:02
5."Tzfia (Looking Ahead)"8:49
6."Barzel (Iron Fist)"2:02
7."Gariin (Nucleus - The New Settlement)"7:59
All compositions by John Zorn
  • Recorded and mixed on November 9 & 10 1992 at RPM Studio, New York City



  1. ^ Tzadik catalogue
  2. ^ Cuthbert, M. S. Free Improvisation: John Zorn and the Construction of Jewish Identity Through Music in Studies in Jewish Musical Traditions: Insights from the Harvard Collection of Judacea Sound Recordings, Shelemay, K. K. (ed.), Harvard College Library, 2001
  3. ^ a b Layne, J. Allmusic Review accessed March 16, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Peters, G. Guy's Music Review Archived July 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed October 24, 2013