Klezmer Music



  • I don’t recall ever seeing any Klezmer music discussions on this site,TM, or TH. What I am posting is not religious music but but is cultural in nature. In the United states we have been influenced by Klezmer Music since the immigration from Eastern Europe since the 1880’s. In the mainstream, a great example is Ziggy Elman’s solo in his song “And the Angel’s Sing”. Another example is the Andrews Sisters adaptation of “Bei Mir Bistu Shein”. I will post videos of these selections below in order to see how they were influenced by the Klezmer style, as well as a couple of videos of the Klezmatics, one of best known contemporary Klezmer bands who also are influenced by many other kinds of music. These videos don’t represent across the board examples of all types of Klezmer Music, but will serve as an introduction.





  • Although many of my relatives, friends and acquaintances love Klezmer and presume I do, too, I politely tell them that there are a few among us for whom it's just not our bowl of borscht.



  • I enjoy some Klezmer at times. One of my former student's niece earned clarinet performance Masters with an emphasis in Klezmer clarinet.



  • Hi SSmith1226,
    That's a neat piece of music history and thank you for bringing it to our attention. I didn't realize that klezmer music went back so far in history or how it influenced so much of what we hear today. That caused me to do a little research and here's what I found. Here's a snippet from wiki;
    "Ancient documents has several descriptions of orchestras and Levites making music, but after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, many Rabbis discouraged musical instruments. However, the importance of merrymaking at weddings was not diminished, and musicians came forth to fill that niche, klezmorim. The first klezmer known by name was Yakobius ben Yakobius, a player of the aulos in Samaria in the 2nd century CE. The earliest written record of the klezmorim is in the 15th century.
    Many Jewish composers who had mainstream success, such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, continued to be influenced by the klezmeric idioms heard during their youth (as Gustav Mahler had been). George Gershwin was familiar with klezmer music, and the opening clarinet glissando of Rhapsody in Blue suggests this influence, although the composer did not compose klezmer directly.
    At the same time, non-Jewish composers were also turning to klezmer for a prolific source of fascinating thematic material. Dmitri Shostakovich in particular admired klezmer music for embracing both the ecstasy and the despair of human life, and quoted several melodies in his chamber masterpieces, the Piano Quintet in G minor, op. 57 (1940), the Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, op. 67 (1944), and the String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, op. 110 (1960)."



  • Wow, a very interesting thread here.



  • There is an interesting story about the last video in my initial post. It was originally composed as L'Estaca (Catalan pronunciation: [ləsˈtakə]; meaning "the stake", figurative sense "without liberty") is a song calling for Catalonia to be free from Spain, composed by the Catalanartist Lluís Llach in 1968. It was composed during the reign of the Dictator, Francisco Franco in Spain, and is a call for unity of action to achieve freedom. The song has become a symbol of the fight for freedom everywhere. The song was covered in Yiddish (under the title "Der Yokh") by the American klezmerband, The Klezmatics, in their 2016 album Apikorism. The Klezmatics version is above. The Catalonian Lyrics describe the struggle for Catalonian freedom using a metaphor of being tied to a stake.
    The song is a conversation held in a doorway at dawn, where the main character asks Grandfather Siset "Don't you see the stake that we're all tied to? If we can't take it down, we'll never be able to walk." and the old man tells him that the only way to get free is by working together: "If we all pull, it will fall down. If I pull this way and you pull that way, it will surely fall, fall, fall, and we will be able to liberate ourselves."

    The struggle for freedom is hard, it is never over, there is no rest. In recent years a Yiddish version of the song has become a regular part of the Klezmatics’ concert performances. The translation, by Yuri Vedenyapin, remains faithful to Llach’s Catalan original but gives the song a Yiddish flavor and resonance.

    Llach says that when he original composed the song, he used the word 'column' instead of 'stake'. In the Klezmatic’s version, Der Yokh, the title refers to the wooden collar placed over a work animal’s neck attaching them to the cart they must pull. Also, in past history a yoke was often placed over the neck of a defeated person, often making them a slave.
    Here is the Catalonian original.



  • Hi SSmith1226,
    Your post about Spain and Franco reminds me of where I grew up. I use to live in an area that had a strong Asturian community. The people were brought or came from that area of Spain to work in the zinc factory in Spelter. The thinking was that Asturians could handle the heat of the factory. On the weekend, the Asturians would gather on a hill called Pinnickinnick Hill and have a picnic. The odd name was due to the Asturians not being able to quite say in English "picnic". During the picnic they would collect money and send it to Spain. On a side note, the Asturians I grew up with were some of the most hearty, loyal and wonderful people I've ever met. They are a part of that thing I call "the place where I grew up".



  • How about some crazy klezmer jazz? Anyone here ever heard of Raymond Scott?



  • Raymond Scott is the absolute bomb!

    Not only was he a great composer, but an excellent music director. And he worked with a string of legendary players. Well worth looking into.

    https://youtu.be/PrQgeK7Xjok?list=PL-Qv0fZ329IO0cvg4gw8fV51NMA_Izs9P



  • Our Brass Quintet played for Jewish service a couple of weeks ago. Several folks came up afterward and suggested we schedule another service followed by additional music after the service in the community room. We would love to do this but would like to include Klezmer. Any suggestions for brass quintet arrangements in klezmer style?



  • Did you google Brass Quintet , Klezmer Music ?



  • @fels said in Klezmer Music:

    Our Brass Quintet played for Jewish service a couple of weeks ago. Several folks came up afterward and suggested we schedule another service followed by additional music after the service in the community room. We would love to do this but would like to include Klezmer. Any suggestions for brass quintet arrangements in klezmer style?

    I agree with Kehaulani. Just “google” Klezmer For Brass quintet. This is an example of what you will find:
    https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/ensembles/brass-quintet/klezmer/500005+700229

    I haven’t researched where you can obtain the following outstanding arrangements, but here they are:



  • @SSmith1226 said in Klezmer Music:

    I haven’t researched where you can obtain the following outstanding arrangements, but here they are:

    Mnozil Brass do sell a few of their arrangements in their web shop -- actually, they mostly sell their original songs. Too much hassle to get permission to sell arrangements of others' music, I image.
    Unfortunately, they mostly seem to have older stuff and not this particular song. It is a Mnozil original but based on trad tunes (video says it's composed by one of the trombone players, Gerhard Füssl).

    https://mnozil-brass.myshopify.com/collections/sheets-notenblatter



  • Thanks for the responses --- my inquiry was based on comments from other members of the quintet who claimed they were having difficulties finding arrangements. I should have remembered my anthropology professor's admonishment of 45 years ago -- do you your own research!



  • @fels said in Klezmer Music:

    Thanks for the responses --- my inquiry was based on comments from other members of the quintet who claimed they were having difficulties finding arrangements. I should have remembered my anthropology professor's admonishment of 45 years ago -- do you your own research!
    LOL, my father always had the same come-back when I asked him a question, "Look it up"!


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