Jerusalem

Jerusalem

  • Duration: ca. 17 minutes
  • SO: Picc, 2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, B.Cl, 2 Bsns, C.Bsn, 4 Hns, 3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Tba, Timp, Perc, Hp, Cel, Str.
  • SWB: Picc, 2 Fls, Ob, Bsn, 3 Cls, B.Cl, 2 A.Sxs, T.Sx, B.Sx, 4 Hns, 5 Tpts, 4 Tbns, Bar, 2 Tbas, Harp, Str.B, Synth, Timp, Perc

The inspiration behind this work is a city at the centre of three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, City whose name means “peace”, and whose fate is war, City which has known pain and joy, destruction and renewal, sadness and hope, City whose past is submerged in blood. As for its future… Would anybody dare to say that he knows it?

The poem Jerusalem exists in three versions: for solo piano, for symphonic wind band, and for symphony orchestra.

I wrote the piano version  in 1991, and revised it in 2002 and in 2009.
Below is a recording of the 2002 version, performed by Michael Zelevinsky in Jerusalem.
The final piano version premiered in 2014 in Paris, at the first COMPETITION-FESTIVAL – modern piano repertoire, performed by Olivier Seuzaret.

Jerusalem for Piano was published in 2015 by Le CHANT du MONDE, Editions Musicales (in France).

In 2017, this work was performed several times by Albanian pianist Almira Emiri. Below is a recording from YouTube.

In 2012, I wrote the symphonic wind band version.
It was premiered in 2013 by the Petach-Tikva Conservatoire Wind Orchestra, conducted by Michael Delman.
Below is an audio recording of that performance. Although both the orchestra and the recording are not professional, the performance was very enthusiastic and presents a favorable rendition the work.

I wrote the initial version for symphony orchestra in 1993, shortly after I wrote the piano version. However, I was not satisfied with the result; I’ve added a lot of additional content to orchestral version, and the combination resulted in a musical structure that lacked cohesion.

After I wrote Holocaust Requiem in 1994-1995, my attitude towards orchestration changed. As result,I put aside Jerusalem until autumn 2017, when I prepared a new version.

Below are recordings of the piano solo version and of the symphonic wind band version.

Piano Solo version

Almira Emiri, Piano
2017

Symphonic Wind Band version
Sept, 2017: Amazing performance of “Poem of Dawn” at 44th International Viola Congress, Wellington, New Zealand

Sept, 2017: Amazing performance of “Poem of Dawn” at 44th International Viola Congress, Wellington, New Zealand

Here is another amazing performance of Poem of DawnRomantic Music for Viola and Symphony Orchestra, by Anna Serova, this time with conductor Hamish McKeich and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Composed in 2010, Poem of Dawn was performed by Anna Serova for the first time in 2013, with maestro Nicola Guerini and the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, they recorded the piece for the Naxos Records CD, which won Pizzicato’s Supersonic Award.

        Anna Serova, Viola
        Hamish McKeich, Conductor
        New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
        Duration: ca. 15 minutes
        2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, 2 Bsns, 4 Hns, 2 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Timp, Perc, Hp, solo Vla, Str.

Sept, 2017: Therefore Choose Life for Symphony Orchestra

Sept, 2017: Therefore Choose Life for Symphony Orchestra

  • Duration: ca. 14 minutes
  • Picc, 2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, B.Cl, 2 Bsns, C.Bn, 4 Hns, 3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Tba, Timp, Perc (3), Hp, Cel, Str.

Therefore Choose Life was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in honor of Manfred Honeck‘s tenth season as music director. The work premiered in Heinz Hall on September 22, 2017, and conducted by Manfred Honeck.

The work based on verse from Deuteronomy 30:19:

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live…

I feel that the phrase “therefore choose life” is essence of the verse.
In my work I tried to express my feeling that life (with all its pain, suffering and tragedies) is meant to be filled with beauty, hope, light and love.
I have written other pieces based on biblical themes: “The Lamentations of Jeremiah” oratorio, A Song of Ascent for Symphony Orchestra, and On Mount Sinai for Symphonic Wind Band. Hence, I was very glad to know from the PSO that maestro Honeck was hoping that my new work “would be inspired by spirituality”.

Therefore Choose Life was written as a free symphony poem, and its duration is approximately 14 minutes.

There are not quotes or references to Jewish liturgical music or other music, but in the coda,  the theme of flutes & clarinets alludes to the singing of the singing of morning prayers or psalms.

A live recording of the outstanding premiere
can be found at Pittsburgh Symphony Radio
website (2017-2018 Season-Program3-Part2); the piece begins at approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the recording.

The 11-minute symphonic poem is meditative but well varied at slow tempos, starting with a strong statement by the strings that conveys concern and aspiration. It leads to a section expressing some of life’s pains before turning to its antithesis – a beautiful and lushly scored section lifted by the light of a flute solo...
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Mark Kanny
Classical Voice North America
September 25, 2017

When I conducted the Israel Philharmonic, I got to know Boris Pigovat a little more and started looking at other pieces he's written. I wanted to do more with him. So I was very happy when he agreed to write something new for this season. I think his musical language is very beautiful. It has Russian depth and enormous emotions, but he is also a very, very humble man.
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Manfred Honeck
Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
September 20, 2017
Nigun (1996)

Nigun (1996)

For String Orchestra / String Quartet / Solo Viola / Solo Violin / Solo Violoncello
  • Duration: ca. 5 minutes

The first version of Nigun was written in 1996, for string orchestra.
In this piece, I give expression to the tragic spirit that I feel in traditional Jewish music. However, there are no themes  from traditional melodies in the piece. Rather, , the composition expresses the style and spiritual atmosphere of the ancient tunes.

The piece was premiered in Israel in 1997 by the Jerusalem Camerata, conducted by Horia Andreescu. Later it was performed by various orchestras in Israel and around the world.

In 1997, I prepared the version for solo violin. Unfortunately, this version has not yet been performed.

In 2008, I prepared the version for solo viola for the American violist Scott Slapin; he recorded it a few months later.

In 2010, I prepared the string quartet version for the Requiem CD (Atoll Records). This version is very similar to the 1996 version. However, I eliminated the contrabass part, and the opening unison of violas, violins and cellos I replaced with a violin solo. The piece was recorded by the Dominion String Quartet.

In 2017, I prepared the solo cello version for Israeli cellist Inbal Megiddo, who premiered it that autumn.

Below you can find recordings of various versions of Nigun.

Version for String Orchestra
Version for SOLO Viola

Scott Slapin, Viola
Premiere
2008

Samples from the "Requiem CD"

     Dominion String Quartet
         Donald Maurice, Viola
         Yuri Gezentsvey, Violin
         Rosemary Harris, Violin
         David Chickering, Cello
     2010

“Dedicated to Marc Chagall” (“Hava Nagila”)

“Dedicated to Marc Chagall” (“Hava Nagila”)

Jewish Rhapsody for Wind Orchestra / String Orchestra (with Optional Piano) / Brass Ensemble / Saxophone Quartet / Solo Bayan

  • Duration: ca. 9 minutes

My work Dedicated to Marc Chagall is based on the popular Jewish song Hava Nagila, which means Let us rejoice.
I had originally intended to write a rhapsody based on Hava Nagila, but I found myself writing episodes that were not derived from Hava Nagila. Suddenly, I realized that I was actually composing a tone poem, evoking scenes of a small Jewish town at the beginning of the 20th century. Such images and moods typify novels by Shalom Aleichem and the earlier paintings by Marc Chagall. I felt a particularly strong association to Chagall’s pictures. For this reason, I named the piece Dedicated to Marc Chagall, in addition to the secondary title of Jewish Rhapsody “Hava Nagila”.

I composed the piece in 2003, for wind orchestra, and then for string orchestra (with optional piano). The main part of both versions is similar, but  the nature of strings required a completely different introduction for the string version.

The wind orchestra version premiered in 2003, performed by the Petach-Tikva Conservatoire Symphonic Band at Festival Kfar-Saba (in Israel), and conducted by Michael Delman.

The premiere of the string-orchestra was in 2005, performed by the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra (in Israel), and conducted by Aviv Ron.

Later, both versions were performed many times in Israel and around the world.
In 2015, the wind-orchestra version was also performed at the WASBE Conference in San Jose, California, by the Israel Youth Wind Orchestra, conducted by Motti Miron. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recording of that performance. However, below is the recording of a different performance of theirs, in Israel, in 2012:

In 2005, I was contacted by the Brandt-Brass Ensemble from Saratov, Russia. They sough a challenging piece to perform for international competition, and I prepared for them a version of Dedicated to Marc Chagall for brass ensemble.

In 2015, I also prepared a version for saxophone quartet; below is recording of that version performed by the Mestizo Saxophone Quartet, in 2018:

In 2012, I received an unexpected application from Ukrainian accordionist Pavel Fenyuk, asking for my permission to write an arrangement of the piece for solo bayan (chromatic button accordion). Below, is his virtuoso performance of that version:

The piece has already seen many variations, and who knows where else it will go?

Jun, 2015: NAXOS Records launched "Holocaust Requiem & Poem of Dawn" CD

Jun, 2015: NAXOS Records launched "Holocaust Requiem & Poem of Dawn" CD

As named, the CD contains two pieces for viola and symphony orchestra, both performed by the distinguished violist Anna Serova, with the Croatian Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Nicola Guerini.

When Anna listened to the recording of Requiem’s premiere (performed by Rainer Moog, in Kiev) she told me that she wants to perform and record this piece herself. Together with her manager Alessandro Panetto and conductor Nicola Guerini, they made it happen: Requiem was recorded for NAXOS by the Croatian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra.

When planning the Requiem recording, Anna asked me to write another composition for the disk. This is how Poem of Dawn was born: I wrote and dedicated this piece for Anna. Inspired by Nikolaj Kun’s Legends and Myths of Ancient Greece (1914), I used the style and compositional methods of the Russian Romantic school, which I believed to be particularly well-suited to the warm, expressive sound of Anna’s viola playing.

Poem premiered at the  Il Settembre dell’Accademia 2013, Teatro Filarmonico di Verona (Italy), and was recorded, together with  Requiem, for the NAXOS label. The NAXOS CD was released in June 2015; that same year, it received the Supersonic Award from Pizzicato Magazine and was nominated for the 2016 International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).

Below are some samples from the CD (the CD is available from Amazon).

In spite of the more dramatic Dies Irae, Boris Pigovat’s Holocaust Requiem is a music of striking serenity, beauty and depth, becoming highly emotional in the performance by violist Anna Serova and the Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra. The poetic and evocative Poem of the Dawn is no less appealing.
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Remy Franck
PIzzicato Magazine
October, 2015

Violist Anna Serova is spectacular, delivering exceptionally confident, technically brilliant, sensitive renditions of Pigovat’s heartfelt scores...
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Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found
August, 2015

Pigovat is a remarkably fine orchestrator. Poem of Dawn makes a fine contrast to the melancholy, passion and tragedy of the Requiem. Nevertheless it is the very fine Holocaust Requiem that I will return to most often. Anna Serova proves to be a first class soloist with the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under Nicola Guerini turning in first class performances.
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Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer
July, 2015

Remembered on disc four and more decades ago, the famous Zagreb Radio Orchestra is the renamed orchestra that is providing a high impact Holocaust Requiem and the gorgeous sounds for the land in paradise created for the Poem. A thought provoking release much recommended.
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David Denton
David's Review Corner
June, 2015