unter sorele’s vigele: Yiddish Song

The commission from  YIVO for a song that used a traditional Yiddish folksong as a jumping-off point inspired me to compose Unter Sorele’s Wigele. This cradle-song was one of four options offered as starting points. I found the unsettled core motif of this one to be beautifully strange, as are the imaginative, elliptical lyrics. I scored my song for mezzo and piano, and turned the core motif into a prism for coloring the timbral world of the piano and the melodic shapes of both instruments. The unsettled character of the original melody also prompted my choice to use floating whole-tone scales that only alight on triadic harmonies in a few key spots. The premiere will take place on Thursday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Center for Jewish History in the same location as YIVO in New York City. Check out more information under Backstories!

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