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Husband of Leila Elizabeth Davis
1891 ~ 1959
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Abraham Frankel, "Don" - Musical America, July 8, 1911Musical America: July 8, 1911 - - -


"We've no atmosphere in This County" Declares Abraham Frankel, Who Has Just Returned From Several Years of Work in Vienna--No Material Here For Musical Inspirations Like That Abroad

A young American musician who is
likely to be heard of frequently in the future is Abraham Frankel, Who has just returned to this country after several years spent in study in Vienna. Mr. Frankel has been busy studying, conducting, working at composition and violin and he has already been offered an important post as symphonic conductor in Riga.  His teacher in composition was Förstel and in violin Ondricek  Though he proposes to make a specialty of conducting, Mr. Frankel has already done some things in the line of creative work that have won him the respect of connoisseurs who have examined them.

After working in the music schools of this country and Europe Mr. Frankel has come to the conclusion that from the standpoint of thoroughness and interest taken in the progress of a pupil, foreign musical instructors are superior to those at home.

"We have no teachers in this country like Leschetizky or Sevcik or my own violin professor, Ondricek." he says. "The pupils produced in this country are by no means comparable to those over there.  In fact, American students, who are extremely proud of their doings after finishing their courses here, find themselves in a very different state of mind when they reach the other side.  The quality of the achievements of some of the very youngest children there is actually such as to make the Americans feel ashamed of themselves.  Besides, the length of the music season as compared with ours and the prevalence of genuine musical atmosphere make Germany and Austria most desirable place for the students of music.  We have not yet been able to acquire this atmosphere, though we may do so in time.

"If I could afford it I should like nothing better than to build a music hall and devote it to the performance of works of American composers who cannot succeed in getting hearings for their works.  As long as a composer's work is not mere trash I believe that it should be given a hearing.  There are many talented composers of the lighter genre of music who are completely neglected and who deserve to be helped.  Even if a piece of music is not of the foremost rank it has a right to production, for the composer may develop into a genius later on.

"We have not material for musical inspiration in America such as is to be found abroad.  There, if you want inspiration, you have but to go and see the peasants in their quaint and picturesque costumes and hear them sing their folksongs.  That is what we lack.  Our money-making people and our fifty-story skyscrapers do not offer the material out of which to construct symphonies and operas.  If we go to the country we see farmers, it is true.  But a farmer is a very different thing from an European peasant.  In ten years he is no longer a farmer but a city merchant."

As regards his own musical tastes Mr. Frankel is bound to no particular school.  He vows allegiance to all music that is good, not matter what may be it's character.  He is an admirer of Strauss, but not one of his fanatical devotees.  He confesses also to liking for much in the modern French school and he is an ardent Brahmsite.  He acknowledges a preference for symphony of operatic work and hopes eventually to be able to build up his career in this country.

Notes: See actual article from Musical America here. Please be patient as this is a very large photo and takes time to download.

See these links for more pictures and documents regarding Abraham Frankel:

Frankel, Abraham - Biography and photo of Don and his brother Robert
Frankel, Abraham - As a young boy age 6 or 7
Frankel, Abraham - Certificate of Completion from Conservatory of Music, Vienna, Austria
Frankel, Abraham - Air Service Band Clip
Frankel, Abraham - Show Bill
Frankel, Abraham "Don Leon" - Orchestra

Abraham Frankel in tree . . .

Last Updated  ~  August 29, 2013

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