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Israel Brandmann

Israel Brandmann:
Variations On A Popular Theme
(Her nor du scheyn meydele)
for clarinet and piano
"Concert of the violinist and composer
Israel Brandmann"
(Tel Aviv, 1931)

Of all the important composers of the New Jewish School the name Israel Brandmann (1901-1992) is probably the most thoroughly forgotten. This is all the more surprising as contemporary press tell us about the promising start of his career in 1930s Vienna.

Brandmann, who was born in Ukraine and studied at the Moscow Conservatory, lived in Palestine for a few years before moving to Vienna in 1924. In 1928 the Society for the Promotion of Jewish Music was founded there. Brandmann was one of its most active members. In the society's concerts he was equally successful as a violinist and composer. In addition, he was director of Vienna's Jewish Choral Society. He reached the pinnacle of his career with the premiere of his Symphonic Poem "Hechaluz" (Hebr.: Pioneer), performed by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under his direction. On this occasion the director of the Vienna Academy of Music and Brandmann's former composition teacher, Professor Franz Schmidt, said the following: "Brandmann will become the national hero of his people; we can predict a great future for him".

Unfortunately, this prophecy did not come true. Because of the political and economical situation Brandmann found himself compelled to leave Austria in 1935. He returned to Palestine; and his music fell into oblivion after World War II.

© 01.08.2016 by Jascha Nemtsov. e-mail: