Cover Osteuropa 7/2010

In Osteuropa 7/2010

Freylekhs – Festive and Tragic
Jewish Themes in Prokof’ev, Shostakovich, and Weinberg

Inessa Dvužil’naja

Deutsche Fassung


In three works of chamber music that appeared in the 1940s, Prokof’ev, Shostakovich, and Weinberg used the most well known of East European Jewish dances, the freylekhs. Integrated into the genre of trio or quartet, the freylekhs sounds sometimes high-spirited and dance-like, sometimes mournful, it flares up briefly or permeates thematically the dramaturgy of an entire movement. Just as the composers are different, so are the hues that the freylekhs assumes. In Weinberg’s Piano Trio, the dance-like theme in the upper registers of the violin sounds like a desperate scream – recalling his murdered father, who had been employed as a violinist at Warsaw’s Jewish Theatre.

(Osteuropa 7/2010, pp. 111–122)