Weddings & Bar Mitzvahs
Duration (in minutes): 5'39;
Difficulty: Medium (college/community)
Category: solo instrument other than piano, solo string instrument
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
Description: Prem: 5/28/94; The Ringve Museum, Trondheim, Norway
Rec: 1995; GEGA
Musicians are traditionally called upon to entertain at important social functions. Two of the most common are weddings, familiar to all cultures, and bar mitzvas, the celebration in the Jewish tradition of a boy’s coming of age when he is 13 years old and takes his place among men. The ambiguity of these occasions is what intrigued me and what prompted me to choose a Yiddish folksong “Hat ein man eine weibele (If a man had a pretty, little wife). The words extol the virtues of the relationship, but advise the man to treat his spouse roughly if she disobeys him and to swing her around his head like a chicken by the neck. Such contrast in sentiment is expressed in the melody, which though simple and hauntingly beautiful, is never quite sure whether or not it is supposed to be cheerful.