Yiddish Fantasy is an arrangement of several Yiddish songs and klezmer tunes which were popular among the Jews of Eastern Europe at the turn of the century. It opens with Vu is dus Gessele (Where is the little street?), to take us on a journey into the time and place of the shtetl, a little village where Jews lived in Eastern Europe. With Oyfn Pripetshok (On the Little Hearth), composed by Mark Warshavsky around 1900, we imagine peering through a window where children are gathered to learn the Hebrew alphabet. Roshinkes mit Mandlen (Raisins and Almonds), written by Abe Goldfaden in 1880, was a popular lullaby these children likely heard at bedtime. Three lively dance tunes follow: a Russian Sher (Russian song) and two Frailachs (Joyful dances). These tunes were played by Jewish musicians, klezmorim, at weddings and other celebrations. Originally written for Daniel Heifetz and The Classical Band, Yiddish Fantasy provides a glimpse into the culture of the Jews of Eastern Europe at the turn of the 19th-20th century.
A new arrangement for violin and piano was developed in 2021 at the request of Opus Two: Bill Terwilliger, violin, and Andrew Cooperstock, piano. They premiered it at the University of South Carolina in October, 2021.
Recording and score for the original version for Violin, String Quintet (or string orchestra), and Piano here.