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Five Yiddish Songs


In the winter of 1997, I was preparing for my graduation recital from Juilliard and looking for a programme which was meaningful to me personally. My Grandmother was born in Russia, and I am of Jewish descent. I wanted to find pieces I could connect with. Both my Grandmother and Mother loved Yiddish songs, and I would hear them sung throughout my childhood; however I could only find the traditional folk arrangements, oftentimes with only the simple melodic lines written out. Eric Whitacre (my boyfriend at the time, now husband) suggested I make new arrangements of the pieces, and although I was reluctant at the beginning I painfully churned out my first arrangement of the five Yiddish Songs for piano, clarinet and voice. The last song in the collection is one of the more well-known Yiddish songs out there. I find an incredibly strong connection with the simplicity and beauty of these songs.

from notes by Hila Plitmann © 2011


The Ancient Question
SIGCD276Download only


No 1: Di alte kasche 'The ancient question'  Fregt di velt an alte kashe
Track 1 on SIGCD276 [1'14] Download only
No 2: A fidler 'The fiddler'  S'hot der tate fun yaridl
Track 2 on SIGCD276 [1'04] Download only
No 3: Unter a kleyn beymele 'Under a small tree'
Track 3 on SIGCD276 [2'33] Download only
No 4: Du sollst nit geyn 'You shall go with no other, girl!'
Track 4 on SIGCD276 [1'22] Download only
No 5: Rozhinkes mit mandlen 'Raisins and almonds'  In dem beys hamikdash in a vinkl cheyder
Track 5 on SIGCD276 [2'37] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD276 track 2

A fidler 'The fiddler'
Recording date
20 November 2010
Recording venue
Wyastone Leys Concert Hall, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Nicholas Parker
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. The Ancient Question (SIGCD276)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: December 2011
    Download only
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