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Frankel was born in London on January 31, 1906, the son of Polish-Jewish parents. He started learning the violin at an early age, showing remarkable talent; at age 14, his piano-playing talents attracted the attention of Victor Benham, who persuaded his parents to let him study music full-time. He spent a few weeks in Germany in 1922, but quickly returned to London Read Full BioBenjamin Frankel (January 31, 1906 – February 12, 1973) was a British composer.
Frankel was born in London on January 31, 1906, the son of Polish-Jewish parents. He started learning the violin at an early age, showing remarkable talent; at age 14, his piano-playing talents attracted the attention of Victor Benham, who persuaded his parents to let him study music full-time. He spent a few weeks in Germany in 1922, but quickly returned to London, where he won a scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and attempted his first serious compositions while earning his income as a jazz violinist, pianist and arranger.
By the early 1930s, Frankel was in high demand as an arranger and musical director in London; he gave up theatre work in 1944, though, even though he retained an interest in movie composing until his death, writing over 100 scores. Frankel also became widely-known as a serious composer after World War II; his first work to gain fame was the violin concerto dedicated "in the memory of 'the six million'", a reference to the Jews murdered during the Holocaust, commissioned for the 1951 Festival of Britain and first performed by Max Rostal.
Frankel's most famous pieces include a cycle of five string quartets and eight symphonies as well as a number of concertos for violin and viola; his single best-known piece is probably the First Sonata for Solo Violin, which, like his concertos, resulted from a long association with Max Rostal. During the last 15 years of his life, Frankel also developed his own style of 12-note composition that retained contact with tonality.
Frankel died in London on February 12, 1973 while working on the three-act opera Marching Song and a ninth symphony which had been commissioned by the BBC. When he died, Marching Song had been completed in short score and was orchestrated by Buxton Orr, a composer who had studied with Frankel and whose advocacy has been at least partly responsible for the revival of interest in his works.
In the twenty years following his death, Frankel's works were almost completely neglected. In 1996, BBC featured him as "Composer of the Week", allowing many people a first opportunity to hear his music (they did so again in 2006). A major turning point, however, came when a German record company CPO (Classic Produktion Osnabrück, since bought by JPC) decided to record his entire output with the help of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This has allowed, for the first time, an appraisal of his output.
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by Benjamin Frankel
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Panzerlied Ob's stürmt oder schneit, ob die Sonne uns lacht, Der Tag gl…
Panzerlied (The Tankmen's Song) Ob's sturmt oder schneit, Ob die Sonne uns lacht, Der Tag gl…
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