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The Clarinet Klezmer Players
Why is the clarinet the instrument of Klezmer
A characteristic of the Klezmer is its comprehensiveness. No other music has attuned into its repertoire the
influences of the surroundings music tradition and at the same time keeping its essence, its own identity, the
delicate blend of Eastern European dance tunes, liturgical melodies, hassidic niggunim, folk songs, played
according to the traditional Klezmer modes.Giora
Brandwein Dave Tarras Helmut Eisel German Goldenshteyn
The emergence of the clarinet in the Klezmer band was a blessing, a necessity and a logical evolution. No other
music instrument can ooze out an almost vocal lament, smirking, laughing, sobbing, distilling the essence of
Jewish-Yiddish music, providing universal music.
In Eastern Europe there were a lot off restrictions imposed on Jewish musicians. Loud instruments like clarinet and
brass were prohibited. Gradually Jewish musicians were enroled in the army and admitted in military bands where
they could show their skills. After their terms they came back to the Klezmer bands with their horns. In the second
half of the 19th century, the clarinet set a foot in the Klezmer orchestra and since then never left it. The
clarinet is to the Klezmer what the guitar is to the Flamenco or the sitar to the Indian music.
We already said that Klezmer is all about interpretation, the written music although important is not the
essential. The talent, the imagination, the persuasion power of the performer is quite capital.
Each one is unique, each one learned from the masters of the past and bequeathed their musical knowledge to the
next generation to keep the tradition well and alive. This is why it is important to know those players, their
life, their journey, their achievements and their contribution to the Klezmer art. Giora Feidman, Dave Tarras,
Naftule Brandwein, Helmut Eisel, German Goldenshteyn, David Krakauer are the first you will find in the next pages,
many others will follow, world renowned or less famous. Klezmer is not a question of celebrity but rather a
question of sincerity and trueness.