Wlad Marhulets: Dybbuk

For clarinet and string quartet.

Sale price$70.00

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Additional Info

  • Composer
    Wlad Marhulets
  • Publisher
    G Schirmer Inc
  • Arrangement
    Ensemble (ENS)
  • Format
    Score and Parts
  • Genre
    20th Century


For clarinet and string quartet. Commissioned by The Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.

David Krakauer, clarinet
Pan Ton Quartet
The Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow
June 23, 2018
Krakow, Poland

Composer Note
Dybbuk, in Jewish mythology, is a spirit of a dead person that possesses and inhabits a living person’s body. It is also the title of the most personal and the most significant piece I have written to date. In my life, Dybbuk has been a symbol of being possessed by a desire. The unexpected, wild, daring, unapologetic desire that appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to change my entire life.

As a child, I had no interest in music. At 16, while still living in Poland, I discovered Jewish music — David Krakauer’s recordings specifically. That led me to the exploration of my own roots, and thus I became “possessed” by the desire of becoming a musician myself. “It is too late for you” — they said. “You will never be a musician.” But apparently, my “Dybbuk” had a plan for me. At 20, being completely broke, I left Poland, my family, my friends, and my old life behind, and went to America. I spoke no English, but armed with 300 dollars (and much foolishness) I ended up in New York. It was difficult. At some point, I was almost homeless. I even starved for a few days. My “Dybbuk” was leading me to something, but the path was rough. Within a few weeks, however, I was accepted to the Juilliard School to study composition exclusively with Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano. My “Dybbuk” also “introduced me” to David Krakauer, who commissioned me to write Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet. It was my first commission that started my career and ultimately changed my life. Since then it has been performed with major orchestras around the world.

Since I met my “Dybbuk,” my life has taken me on the wildest and most daring adventure, and I feel it’s just the beginning. In this piece, I explore the nature of “Dybbuk” through the prism of my own experience. It is the craziest, most bizarre, and over-the-top piece I’ve ever composed. While writing it, I sometimes felt that it was the Dybbuk who was doing most of the work.

There are six movements in the piece, each exploring various stages of possession. The second to the last is called “Exorcism,” and it is the wildest part of the piece in which the possessed body struggles to get rid of the malicious spirit. The movement that follows, however, is called “Non-Departure.” It symbolizes accepting and making peace with the Dybbuk, so it can lead us to things that we would never dare to dream about on our own. Despite the rough path, I'm starting to believe my Dybbuk was a friend all along.

— Wlad Marhulets

Dybbuk is dedicated to David Krakauer

1. Manifestation
2. Possession
3. Alignment
4. Obsession
5. Exorcism
6. Non-Departure

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