Clarinet

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Daniel Gouly

Daniel Gouly

The clarinet is prized in klezmer music for its ability to emulate the human voice and evoke a range of emotions, as with the violin. It has come to be as important a lead instrument as the violin in klezmer bands. Clarinets can also play counter-lines and rhythmic roles. Here's a short guide to some klezmer clarinet players.


Yiddish: clarnet, foyal or forsht


Klezmer clarinettists in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries included:


  • Argentina Iosele Grinblat (also accordion), Sam Liberman

  • Eastern Europe Chaim "Klineter" Gross

  • USA Carl Praeger, Berish "Ben" Katz (also violin and viola) Dave Tarras, Naftule Brandwein, Phil Bodner, Ramon Musiker, Ray & Sam Musiker (also sax), Shloymke Beckerman


Klezmer clarinettists in the later 20th century and today include:


  • Argentina Marcelo Moguilevsky

  • Australia Lionel Mrocki

  • Canada Zilien Biret

  • Denmark Emil Goldschmidt

  • Finland Annika Lyytikäinen

  • France Marine Goldwaser, Laurent Clouet, Marthe Desrosières (also flute), Samuel Maquin

  • Germany Anja Gunther, Bernd Spehl, Christian Dawid (also sax), Georg Brinkmann

  • Israel Giora Feidman, Moshe Berlin

  • Japan Wataru Ohkuma

  • Sweden Valeria Conte

  • Switzerland Joel Rubin, Michael Heitzler

  • UK Daniel Gouly, Dave Shulman, Emma Stiman, John Macnaughton, Jon Petter, Maurice Chernick, Merlin Shepherd, Ros Hawley, Susi Evans, Steve Levi

  • Ukraine Mitya Gerasimov

  • USA Alex Kontorovich (also sax), Andy Statman (also mandolin), David Krakauer, Don Byron, German Goldensteyn, Howie Leess (also sax), Ilene Stahl, Jessica Ruiz, Kurt Bjorling (also tsimbl), Margot Leverett, Matt Darriau, Max Epstein, Michael Winograd,  Robin Seletsky, Sherry Mayrent, Sam Musiker (also sax, flute), Sid Beckerman, Zisl Slepovitch, Zoë Christiansen

Ot Azoy ('That's the Way') played by Shloimke Beckerman (1924)

Ot Azoy ('That's the Way') played by Shloimke Beckerman (1924)

'Ot Azoy' is a tune with a chorus where everyone sings 'ot azoy' and then 'git azoy' - that's the way, it's good that way.

Mayn Tayere Odessa (My Dear Odessa) played by Dave Tarras (1926)

Mayn Tayere Odessa (My Dear Odessa) played by Dave Tarras (1926)

Gorgeous zhok (slow hora)-style melody. There is a version played by Belf's Romanian Orchestra with a different B section

Mazltov Di Shviger (Congratulations Mother-in-Law) played by Naftule Brandwein (c1928)

Mazltov Di Shviger (Congratulations Mother-in-Law) played by Naftule Brandwein (c1928)

An improv introduction and then a tune also known as Behusher Khosid (see Violin collection)

Dave Tarras Tribute Concert 1978

Dave Tarras Tribute Concert 1978

Dave Tarras Trio plays Klezmer Music: Dave Tarras (clarinet), Samuel Beckerman (accordion), and Max Goldberg (drums and voice)

Doyne un Skotshne played by Paul Pincus

Doyne un Skotshne played by Paul Pincus

With Hymie Jacobson's Orchestra

Andy Statman and Zev Feldman in Concert (1978)

Andy Statman and Zev Feldman in Concert (1978)

Andy Statman (clarinet and mandolin) and Zev Feldman (tsimbl) were young researchers at the time of this concert

Dave Tarras (clarinet) plays Dave's Nign

Dave Tarras (clarinet) plays Dave's Nign

Kiev Freylekhs/ Nifty, shpil es nokh a mol

Kiev Freylekhs/ Nifty, shpil es nokh a mol

"Shpil es Nokh a Mol" (Play it again!). A version of the tune we call 'Kiev Freylekhs', played by the great klezmer clarinetist Naftule Brandwein.