New York Klezmer in the Early Twentieth Century: The Music of Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras [Hardback]

Joel E. Rubin(Author)

ISBN: 9781580465984 | Published by: University of Rochester Press | Series: Eastman/Rochester Studies Ethnomusicology | Volume: 9 | Year of Publication: 2020 | 483p, H9 x W6, 14 b/w. 101 line.
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New York Klezmer in the Early Twentieth Century


Since the 1970s, klezmer music has become one of the most popular world music genres, at the same time influencing musical styles as diverse as indie rock, avant-garde jazz, and contemporary art music. Klezmer is the celebratory instrumental music that developed in the Jewish communities of eastern Europe over the course of centuries and was performed especially at weddings. Brought to North America in the immigration wave in the late nineteenth century, klezmer thrived and developed in the Yiddish-speaking communities of New York and other cities during the period 1880-1950.

No two musicians represent New York klezmer more than clarinetists Naftule Brandwein (1884-1963)and Dave Tarras (1897-1989). Born in eastern Europe to respected klezmer families, both musicians had successful careers as performers and recording artists in New York. Their legacy has had an enduring impact and helped to spurthe revival of klezmer since the 1970s.

Using their iconic recordings as a case study, New York Klezmer in the Early Twentieth Century looks at the inner workings of klezmer dance music, from its compositional aspects to the minutiae of style. Making use of historical and ethnographic sources, the book places the music within a larger social and cultural context stretching from eastern Europe of the nineteenth century to the United Statesof the present.

JOEL E. RUBIN is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Virginia and an acclaimed performer of traditional klezmer music.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "If you called me a klezmer thirty-five years ago..."
A Wedding in Town Was Like a Holiday: A Short History of Klezmorim in Europe
Life Began with the Lower East Side: Changing Meanings, Changing Contexts
A Kind of "Ethnomusicological Archive": Commercial 78-rpm Recordings of Klezmer Music
A Single Field Irrespective of Origin: Polymusicality and Language, Aesthetics, Classification, and Transcription
"What mattered was what's happening with the tune": Modality and Compositional Processes
"The little things that they do": Ornaments and Performance Practice Techniques
"The newest bulgar out that everyone played": New York Klezmer Post-1929
Glossary of Terms

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