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Freylekhs and Fugue

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Jeffrey Wood

Jeffrey Wood

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General Info

Year: 2007
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manuscript
Cost: Score and Parts - Contact composer


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Toms (4)
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Freylekhs and Fugue is scored in a one-to-a-part fashion calling for 30 players and was commissioned by APSU [Austin Peay State University] Bands. The work is a sort of klezmer-inspired fantasy of approximately 10 minutes in duration.

The composer writes:

Freylekhs and Fugue reflects my interest in klezmer. Klezmer is a kind of improvised music that is used for celebrations (weddings, births) and originated within the Jewish community of Eastern Europe prior to the Second World War. The musicians (known as klezmorim) created this emotionally charged music that came with its own traditions, scales and styles of improvisation. A freylekhs (Yiddish meaning cheerful or merry) was a kind of traditional dance in Eastern Europe and remains an important element of contemporary of klezmer repertoire.

There are essentially three melodic/gestural materials that are used throughout this work: a freylekhs theme, based on an ostinato that comes from the repertoire of the Bughici family, a klezmer dynasty from Iasi, România, along with original melodic material derived from a traditional scale/mode known as ahavah rabbah (“abounding love,” from the text of a prayer from the Sabbath Shacharit [morning] service); there is an original march theme; and finally there is a fugue subject derived from the freylekhs ostinato.

The form of this work is a kind of “structured fantasy,” in the spirit of klezmer. After an abrupt fortissimo chord, the piece starts slowly with a chorale in the woodwinds that emerges over the low brass. This section of the piece features virtuosic solos in the woodwinds, reflecting the klezmer origins of the piece. The chorale is gradually interrupted by an ostinato, leading to the entire ensemble in full “freylekhs mode,” with freely developed melodic materials based on the ahavah rabbah mode. There follows a quieter passage that features more solo writing, which in turn leads to the first statement of the march theme in the brass. This is followed by a fugue using the freylekhs ostinato as a subject, first presented in the woodwinds. The freylekhs is then re-introduced while the fugue continues, pairing the two ideas, subsequently followed by a pairing of the march and freylekhs themes. The full ensemble returns and all of the melodic materials are brought together in a frenzied climax, bringing the piece to a dramatic close.

- Program Note from CBDNA Report

For Gregory Wolynec

- Program Note from score


None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by this Composer