Meeting with composer Jan Frenkel

Do you know whose song is “Kalina Krasnaya”? Probably, 9 out of 10 of our radio listeners will be surprised: “How is it whose? Folk ". Do you remember the wonderful film by Vasily Shukshin, which was called “Kalina Krasnaya”? There, the hero of Shukshin, Yegor Prokudin, sings it precisely as a purely folk, close, and soulfully dear.
Meanwhile, the composer Yan Abramovich Frenkel created this melodious and touching melody. And to us, the Orenburg citizens, it is especially precious that he began his work in Orenburg, which in a figurative sense means that his songs started here, with us.
Ian Frenkel is a frequent guest of the television, filming episodic roles in some films for which he writes music, and therefore many of you visually represent this powerful man with a black mustache and a surprisingly charming, some kind of childish smile. And the composer was especially touched when he recalled the difficult war years in Orenburg.
Jan Frenkel: “Orenburg is a city that sheltered many during the war. Including my family. My father had a sister there, on the Street on January 9th. I remember this name very well. And my aunt somehow with my heart found out that I had come, because when I passed by the window in search of this house, and she saw this long figure - I was as long as now, only three times thinner. And it happened to me then ... Actually, I was not yet a full 17 years old. There was no possibility to make music, if only because there was no musical instrument. I mean not a piano - there was no violin on which I studied. Then, after a while, my father bought me an expensive violin. In the meantime, in order not to be idle, because my father was a hairdresser, he said: "Come, help me." Haircuts were then simple, under the machine. I quickly mastered this profession and for a long time helped my father.
Then a lot of musicians came to Orenburg, including the orchestra conducted by Gurevich. Once this orchestra played in Moscow, and he arrived in Orenburg in full composition. Then it was called a jazz orchestra, now it is called a “strange orchestra.” It was a good orchestra. I was accepted there, and I played in the cinema for a while. I don't remember his name very well now. But I remember that he was on Soviet street. Then many musicians from this orchestra were mobilized. ”
In August 1942, Ian Frenkel entered the Chkalov anti-aircraft artillery school. Then, seeing off, the front, the hospital - the commission declared it unfit for military service. And the demobilized Jan Frenkel returned to Orenburg - then Chkalov. He worked in a concert and pop bureau, played the violin, piano, saxophone and gradually began to try his hand at the song genre, working with talented people whom fate also threw into the city.
Jan Frenkel: “I remember Sasha Blekhman, who in the first days of the war was seriously wounded near Leningrad and soon found himself in Orenburg. He, like everyone, loved pop music, played a little on the saxophone. But in the period when I met him, he could not do that, because his hand was not valid. He is a capable guy, in due time he had heard plenty of entertainers, he remembered something, he invented something himself, and so he began to try his strength on the stage. We were very friendly with him. Then from this Sasha Blekhman grew a great pop actor. Unfortunately, he died very early. At the same time, Soloviev-Sedoy, Fatyanov, the Leningrad Maly Opera Theater were located in Chkalov, where I had a lot of musician friends. So cultural life raged. ”
The first attempts to write songs, the composer recalls, were in his dance rhythm.


Of course, even the most experienced musician would not have taken on the very first songs of Jan Frenkel to predict the fate of the author “Kalina Krasnaya”, “Russian Field”, “Cranes” and a dozen other wonderful songs. But nevertheless these songs began sometime in Orenburg.
Jan Frenkel: “You see, when you tell, it turns out short. And yet this is a very saturated segment of life. And to this day, I have a feeling of some special gratitude to this city, which sheltered us, caressed. Until now, this feeling in me does not pass, and should probably not pass. And honestly I will tell you that despite the fact that I was born in Kiev, I could rightfully call Orenburg my second homeland. ”
Jan Frenkel himself loves to sing. And although his voice is not operatic, he sings with a very big feeling.


They even argue about good songs. But it seems there are those who are not subject to criticism - the people accept them immediately. For example, “Cranes” is one of those songs that will live and live.
Jan Frenkel: “Of course, this is always very precious - a feeling of love, appreciation for your work. And “Cranes”, of course, is very dear to me. Although I remember that when this song first appeared, the newspaper Trud published a review of one of the concerts, where it was said that the verses were good, but the music let us down.
Beautiful is the fate of the song "Russian Field". Is the fate of the song “Kalina Krasnaya” less interesting? I would even say, “Kalina Krasnaya” is a special destiny song. She somehow entered life so much that when Yevgeny Svetlanov recently wrote his symphonic poem in memory of Vasily Shukshin, he used this song, being quite sure that it was folk. You know, the highest recognition of the song is when the author is forgotten. ”

Jan Frenkel: “I want to visit Orenburg again. Recall a lot, meet new. I have already said that I have a special feeling of gratitude, love for Orenburg, the people who lived there and live. Their meeting would be extremely pleasant and dear to me. ”


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