Jody Rockmaker

Jody Rockmaker (born 1961, New York City) received his Ph.D. in Composition from Princeton University. He has studied at the Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory and the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. His principal teachers have been Erich Urbanner, Edward T. Cone, Milton Babbitt, Claudio Spies, Malcolm Peyton and Miriam Gideon.

Dr. Rockmaker is also the recipient of numerous awards including a Barlow Endowment Commission, Fulbright Grant, two BMI Awards for Young Composers, an ASCAP Grant, the George Whitefield Chadwick Medal from New England Conservatory, and a National Orchestral Association Orchestral Reading Fellowship. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and Villa Montalvo, and has been a Composition Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center. He taught at Stanford University and is currently an Associate Professor at Arizona State University School of Music.

Program note

Yiddish Choruses (2006)

I. Bulba
II. Shlof Meyn Kind
III. Ma noymar uma nedaber
IV. Zackele
V. Volt Ikh

A chance discovery in the ASU Music Library spurred the creation of Yiddish Choruses. There, sitting on the recent acquisitions shelf, the title boldly emblazoned in Hebrew on the spine was an anthology of Yiddish folksongs published in Glasnost-era Russia. I recognized many of the tunes, songs I had heard from family or friends or simply in passing. I wanted to set my favorites for chorus.

Each movement is dedicated to a family member. Bulba is a song my mother remembers from her childhood. Shlof Meyn Kind is a lullaby for my daughter. My brother-in-law loves to sing Ma noymar uma nedaber during Passover. I had used the melody of Zackele as the theme to a set of piano variations my freshman-year of college. This setting is dedicated to the memory of my Bubby. Volt Ikh is a gift to my wife. The movements may be sung singly or in any combination.

Text for Yiddish Choruses by Jody Rockmaker

1. Bulbe

Zuntik bulbe, montik bulbe,
dinstik un mitvokh bulbe,
donershtik un fraytik bulbe.
Shabes in a novine a bulbekigele!
Zuntik vayter bulbe!

Broyt mit bulbe, fleysh mit bulbe,
Varimes un vekhere bulbe,
Ober un vider bulbe.
Eynmol in a novine a bulbekigele!
Zuntik vayter bulbe!

Ober bulbe, vider bulbe,
Nokh amol un ober amol bulbe!
Haynt un morgn bulbe!
Ober Shabes nokhn khlont a bulbekigele!
Zuntik vayter bulbe!

1. Potatoes
Sunday potatoes, Monday potatoes
Tuesday and Wednesday potatoes,
Thursday and Friday potatoes.
On Sabbath day a novelty, potato pie!
Sunday again potatoes!

Bread with potatoes,
meat with potatoes,
Lunch and dinner potatoes,
Over and over potatoes.
One time a novelty, potato pie!
Sunday again potatoes!

Again potatoes, more potatoes,
More and more potatoes,
Evening and morning potatoes,
But on the Sabbath, a treat,
potatoe pie! Sunday again potatoes!

2. Shlof meyn kind

Shlof meyn kind,
meyn treyst, meyn shayner,
shlof ze, lu lu lu.
Shlof meyn laybn,
meyn kadish ayner,
shlof ze, shlof tokhter.

2. Sleep, my child
Sleep my child
my hope, my pretty one,
go to sleep, hush, hush.
Sleep, the apple of my eye,
my only one,
Sleep, sleep my daughter.

3. Ma noymar uma nedaber

Ma noymar uma nedaber,
oy vay ma nedaber
ver ken zagen ver ken rayden
vos ayns badayt?
Zibn zaynen di Vukhenteg
Zeks zaynen di mishnahyes,
Finf zaynen di Humash,
Fir zaynen di muters,
Dray zaynen di foters,
Svay zaynen di lukhes,
Un ayner iz dokh Got,
Got iz ayner un vayter kayner.

3. What shall we say?
What shall we say?
Oh my! what shall we say?
who can say, who can tell,
what (one) means?
Seven are the days of the week,
Six are the orders of the Mishna,
Five are the books of the Torah,
Four are the mothers,
Three are the fathers,
Two are the tables of the covenent,
And one is God,
God alone and no one else.

4. Zackele

Zackele Zackele, shpil mir a kazackele,
zokh an oreme, abi a zvakhke.

Orem iz nit gut, orem iz nit gut.
Lomir zikh nit shemen mit eygenem blut!

Zackele Zackele, shpil mir a dume,
zoch an oreme, abi a frume.

Zackele, Zackele, shpil mir a zemele,
Far a drayerl oyf Zackes kremele.

4. Zackele

Zackele, Zackele, play me a Russian dance.
Although poor, yet with a spirit.

Poverty is not good, poverty is not good.
Let us not be ashamed of our own blood.

Zackele, Zackele, play me a ballad. Although poor yet with piety.

Zackele, Zackele, play a merry song
for all my friends.

5. Volt Ikh

Volt ikh hobn gilderne fliglen,
Volt ikh cu dir flien.
Volt ikh hobn gilderne reder,
Volt ikh cu dir forn.

Volt ikh hobn ferd un tsotel,
Volt ikh cu dir geritn.
Volt ikh hobn tint un feder,
Volt ikh cu dir geshriben.

Volt ikh hobn a goldenem fingerl,
Volt ikh cu dir gegeben.

5. If I had golden wings
If I wish I had golden wings,
I would fly over to you.
If I had golden wheels,
I would drive over to you.

If I had horse and saddle,
I would ride over to you.
If I had ink and quill,
I would write to you.

If I had a golden ring,
I would give it to you.

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