Programme Notes – Yiddish Dances (1997 rev. 2003-4)

Yiddish Dances, written for Timothy Reynish’s 60th birthday in 1998, is very much a party piece. It brings together two of my abiding passions: the Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Klezmer – the folk music of the Yiddish-speaking people.

The five movements are all based on set Klezmer dances:

Khosidl – a medium tempo 2/4 in which the music moves between satire, sentimentality and pathos.

Terkishe – an up-tempo Jewish tango.

Doina – a free recitative in which various instruments in the band get a chance to show off.

Hora – slow 3/8 time with a characteristic rocking rhythm.

Freylachs – very fast 2/4 time in which themes from the previous movements are recalled, ending in a riotous ‘booze-up’ for all concerned.

Le Chaim! (To Life!)