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Work

Chad gadya (One little goat) : quartet for clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano

by Yitzhak Yedid (2017)

Chad gadya

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Score

Chad gadya : quartet for clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano / Yitzhak Yedid.

Library shelf no. 785.2414/YED 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Chad Gadya (one little goat) is a playful cumulative children's song in Aramaic and Hebrew and the title of my quartet. It is the last of the songs sung at the conclusion of the Passover Seder, the Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It tells the story of a little goat bought by a father for the mere pittance of two zuzim (coins). There are many exegesis of the song but in my view, Chad Gadya is more than anything else about the chain of events that brought the world into existence - representing the natural order of things. It also (for me) relates to the concept of the Tree of Life, a central symbol of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), that depicts ten stages that brought the world into being.

The quartet takes inspiration from the lyrics and the cumulative form of the children's liturgical song Chad Gadya, however, it is not by any means meant to be a religious piece. I composed short motives (in an alternating rhythm of 12/8 and 11/8) that expend continuously, until a point where there is a twist in the music (perhaps the 'angel of death' from the original song) and the mood changes to some sort of a uninhibited-sounding musical image. Chad Gadya is an energetic piece in fast tempi, and I believe, quite challenging to perform.

Finally, it is my wish that the audience will come up with their own understanding of the music and its message, and despite my suggestion here, I would like to leave the piece open to interpretation.

Here are the lyrics of the song:

Verse 1:

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 2:

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came, and ate the goat

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 3:

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came, and bit the cat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 4:

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came, and beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 5:

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came, and burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 6:

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came, and extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 7:

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came, and drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 8:

One little goat, one little goat:

The slaughterer came, and killed the ox, that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 9:

One little goat, one little goat:

The angel of death came, and slew the slaughterer who killed the ox, that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Verse 10:

One little goat, one little goat:

Then came the holy one, and smote the angel of death, who slew the slaughterer, who killed the ox, that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

Yitzhak Yedid

July. 2017

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Clarinet, violin, cello, piano.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival with funds provided by Regional Arts Fund.

First performance: by Rachel Smith, Louise King, Ayesha Gough, William Stafford at (F)EAST! (Dunwich Public Hall (North Stradbroke Island)) on 30 Jul 2017

Performances of this work

15 Oct 2017: at Chad Gadya (One Little Goat) (Temple Beth Israel). Featuring Fennec Ensemble.

30 Jul 2017: at (F)EAST! (Dunwich Public Hall (North Stradbroke Island)). Featuring Rachel Smith, Louise King, Ayesha Gough, William Stafford.

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