Frankel, Joseph (Lt) (1885-1953)

Joseph Frankel was born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine). A Kiev conservatory trained bandmaster and a band leader in the Tzarist army, he toured the US in 1904 leading the 14th Regiment Military Band. In the early 1910s he led theatre orchestras in New York. When WW1 started Joseph Frankel was touring South America with a Russian Symphony orchestra. He took US citizenship and became a band leader in the US army.

After the war he recorded traditional tunes as well as his own contemporary compositions including ’Yiddishe Blues’.

"Yiddishe Blues" was a 1918 experiment by Joseph Frankel. The piece blends ragtime sensibility in its instrumentation and syncopation, a klezmer melodic line with "Mi Shebeyrekh" in cantorial mode. By insisting on including the rank "Lt.", Frankel was already pointing to an American-ness of the Jewish nation. Suitably, Frankel was a band officer in both the Russian and American armies, a fact that reveals the futility of trying to firmly establish a specific Jewish national identity in the XXth century. Even as Frankel was evolving a hyphenated Jewish-American musical identity, other bandleaders were still "national" in referencing their European side, as in Abe Schwartz’s "National Hora". Updating Frankel’s approach to hybridization has become basic to recent klezmer bands.

Yiddishe blues
Yiddelach shimmy tantz

Listen to

In case the music player doesn't open, you must allow the opening of pop-ups for the website iemj.org in your browser settings.

  • Yiddishe blues

  • Yiddelach shimmy tantz

Lire tout

You may also like

Release of eight new musical scores by Itaï Daniel at the EIJM publishing house

The EIJM publishing house releases eight new instrumental or vocal scores by Itaï Daniel, a composer inspired by Judaism and its (…)

Ani Maamin - Ben Zion Shenker

Discover the audio collections of the EIJM

Release of a new musical score by Serge Kaufmann: Katouna, for clarinette and cello

Release of the musical score Katouna by Serge Kaufman, at the EIJM’s editions

Training of Music Teachers of Paris - 2011

The CFMJ continues its educational action by organising another training day for music teachers in Paris. In the program : a large overview on (…)

The CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris

Conferences, round table and concerts : find all the events co-organized by the CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris, on June 29 and (…)