Haven't posted in a while. To all my (four) faithful readers, my apologies. But I have been busy with something else, which I will now tell you about: Last week, Dave, the owner of the Dancing Camel bar and brewery, called me and invited our quartet to play on Monday, which is Johann Strauss Jr's birthday. Dave is a graduate of Yeshiva University, who decided after graduation that his future was in beer rather than accounting. He studied brewing in New Jersey, then came to Israel and opened the Dancing Camel. He makes the best beer in Israel, so if you are ever in Israel, be sure to make this a stop.
Last year around Christmas time, I suggested that Dave invite us to play Christmas carols. We are an amateur quartet, so the only compensation we asked for was unlimited beer. Dave was delighted. He is still orthodox - he doesn't wear a traditional skullcap, but his head is always covered with a hat or bandanna - so he refused to advertise the evening as a Christmas event. Nonetheless, the place was packed, with everyone singing along with Jingle Bells, including Dave. You have to understand that in Israel, Christmas is almost universally ignored, and many former Americans miss the holiday spirit.
Anyway, since then, we have played a few times at the bar, always in exchange for excellent brew. We often play arrangements of Israeli folksongs, which I arrange for string quartet. Doing these arrangements has been what has kept me busy for the past week, which is my excuse for not posting. I have now packaged these arrangements, and am offering them for sale over the net. So if any of you (four) readers out there are interested, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post a comment here, and I will send you the particulars. I'm afraid I don't have a recording of these, but you download a midi version of one of the songs here. And here is a page of the score: