Frankel, Joseph (Lt) (1885-1953)

Joseph Frankel was born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine). 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" is a 1918 experiment by Joseph Frankel. The piece blends ragtime sensibility in instrumentation and syncopation, a klezmer melodic line with "Mi Shebeyrekh" cantorial mode. By insisting on including the rank "Lt.", Frankel was already signaling to American-ness for 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 anchor any specific Jewish national identity in the XXth century. Even as Frankel was evolving a hyphenated Jewish-American musical identity, other bandleaders were still "national" to reference the European side, as in Abe Schwartz’s "National Hora". Updating Frankel’s work of 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

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 (…)

Second summer university of Judeo-Spanish in Paris

7 - 12 JULY 2013 in the Centre Edmond Safra - 6 bis rue Michel-Ange - Paris 16e In July 2012, the first university of Judeo-Spanish, organized (…)

Symposium and concerts Vox Aurea-Via Sacra 2014 - Sacred Jewish music

Sunday September 7th, 2014, 18200 Saint-Armand Montrond Sacred music holds an essential place in Jewish music history. All day long, conferences (…)

The night of theology - 4th edition

Thursday January 30th, 2020 from 7 pm to 11h30 pm. An evening dedicated to relations between music and religion, and then to the ecological (…)