Benjamin Frankel, classical music composer

Benjamin Frankel


Benjamin Frankel (31 January 1906 – 12 February 1973) was a British composer. 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 was born in London on 31 January 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 gifts 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 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. From 1941 till 1952 he was a member of the British Communist Party, but resigned his membership in protest at the Prague show-trials.

Frankel died in London on 12 February 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; it 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.

(from Wikipedia)

Composer Title Date Action
Benjamin Frankel I had a dove 05/26/2010 Play Add to playlist