Wednesday 10/10

When Professor Sirotta played his piece for the class on Wednesday, I was reminded of the discussion we had a few minutes before about the cultural clichés that can be portrayed through music.  Just like Liu’s music in “Turandot” had a distinct chinese sound, Professor Sirotta’s piece painted a picture in my mind of the small European shtetls where the Jewish people lived.  The professor said that the words of Oyfn Pripotshok, the song on which his own piece is based, describes a Rabbi who is teaching young children the Hebrew alphabet.  The Rabbi warns the children that they will experience pain and exiles, and they must strengthen themselves by these letters.  The slow tune of the stringed instruments in “Fantasia Pripotshok” makes the piece sound like an old Jewish European song and seems to portray the culture of which the words of the song speak of.  Then, amongst the low, slow violin sounds, Sirotta includes transitions that that have a different sound from the rest of the song.  These periods of the piece incorporate instruments like the tambourine that do not sound like the Jewish European style.  These musical transitions might be symbolizing the Jewish exiles of which the Rabbi spoke of, where the Jews had to leave their shtetl homes for other places and other cultures.