New York Klezmer in the Early Twentieth Century
Title Details

483 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

14 b/w. 101 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman/Rochester Studies Ethnomusicology

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

New York Klezmer in the Early Twentieth Century

The Music of Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras

by Joel E. Rubin

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The music of clarinetists Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras is iconic of American klezmer music. Their legacy has had an enduring impact on the development of the popular world music genre.
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.
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
Notes
Bibliography

Joel Rubin is associate professor of music and director of music performance at the University of Virginia. He is an internationally renowned klezmer clarinetist and has published numerous articles and book chapters on klezmer music.

"New York Klezmer marks a milestone, not only for the study of klezmer music but also and especially for the study of performance practice. Lucidly written, this volume will greatly satisfy music researchers of all stripes interested in music and Jewish studies, the study of interpretation and performance practice, urban ethnomusicology and local music history. Sections can easily serve as assigned reading in classes on klezmer culture. Free from highbrow academic jargon and equipped with a glossary, this book will also be a welcome read for generations of klezmorim. As such, it is not only highly recommended, it might remain unrivaled for some time." Tina Frühauf, Journal of Musicological Research

Hardcover

9781580465984

August 2020

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Title Details

483 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

14 b/w. 101 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman/Rochester Studies Ethnomusicology

Imprint: University of Rochester Press