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!)