“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?

Massada (1997)

Massada (1997)

  • Duration: ca. 14 minutes
  • Picc, Fl, Ob, Bsn, P.Cl, 3 Cls, B.Cl, A.Sx, T.Sx, B.Sx, 4 Hns, 2 Cnts, 3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Bar, 2 Tbas, Str. Bass, Timp, Perc (4).

In 1996 I met Michael Delman, the conductor of the Wind Orchestra of the Petah-Tikva Conservatoire (Israel).
Before meeting him for the first time, I had never written anything for wind orchestra, and I have viewed wind orchestration as limited to bands performing marches or any entertainment music, like songs, waltzes, polka, fantasy, and potpourri.
Mr. Delman opened a new world to me: the wind orchestra, with abilities and repertoire similar to the symphony orchestra. This type of orchestra is called a  symphonic wind band or a wind symphony orchestra.

For more than 20 years,  Michael Delman and I have collaborated. He and his orchestra premiered most of my compositions written for symphonic wind band. Mr. Delman himself conceived the theme of some of my wind band compositions, including Massada, Wind Of Yemen, Exile, and The Heroic Song.

Massada was the first piece that I composed for symphonic wind band. It was composed, and also performed for the first time, in 1997.

Massada (or Masada) is a fortress near the Dead Sea, whose defenders resisted the Romans for seven years and then committed suicide rather than being captured and enslaved by the Romans.

In 1999, Michael Delman and the Petah-Tikva Conservatoire Wind Orchestra performed the European premiere of Massada in the wind-orchestra competition in Zurich, Switzerland, where they won first prize in their category.
They also performed Massada in Festival Mid-Europe ’99 in Schladming, Austria.

Since then, Massada has been performed by various orchestras in Europe, the United States, and in South America, and several orchestras have recorded it.

The most important performances took place at:

Below are some recordings.

Petah-Tikva Conservatoire Wind Orchestra
Michael Delman, Conductor

Song of the Sea (2005)

Song of the Sea (2005)

Poem for Symphonic Wind Band

  • Duration: ca. 20 minutes
  • Picc (=Fl 1), 2 Fls, A.Fl (= Fl 2).Obs, Bsns, 3 Cls, B. Cl, 2 A. Sxs, T. Sx, B. Sx, 4 Hns, 5 Tpts , 3 Tbns, Bar, 2 Tbas, Str. Bass, Perc (6)

In 2005, I composed Song of the Sea for the conductor and director of the Bands and Symphony Orchestra at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky: Dennis L. Johnson.
I composed the Song of the Sea for Dennis Johnson in 2005.

This is what he said about the piece:

Boris Pigovat is a bright, fresh voice in the world of wind band composition.  His “Song of the Sea” is an original tone poem written for myself and the Murray State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and was premiered in a special performance in Carnegie Hall on March 29 of 2005.  This dramatic work captures the beauty and majesty of the open sea as well as its darker and more ominous mood during a ferocious storm.  The work carries the listener on a journey through calm and tempest and ends with a grandiose climax that rivals any of the great programmatic composers of this or any era.  The wind ensemble and I thoroughly enjoyed the preparation and performance of this masterful work as did the exhilarated crowd in Carnegie Hall that called us back three times.  “Song of the Sea” deserves to be on all collegiate and (technically proficient) high school band programs throughout the world. It is a masterpiece for wind band.

That same year, maestro Johnson premiered the piece with the Murray State University Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, in New York.

Later that summer, he performed it at (a repertoire session at) the WASBE Conference in  Singapore.

The piece also received the 2005 ACUM Prize (ACUM is the Israeli analog of ASCAP).

In 2009, Song of the Sea had its European premiere in Germany, performed by the Munich Academic Wind Orchestra, conducted by Michael Kummer.

Below is the recording from the premiere in Carnegie Hall.

Murray State University Wind Ensemble                                       
Dennis L. JOHNSON, Conductor
Carnegie Hall, New York, 2005

Wind of Yemen (2000)

Wind of Yemen (2000)

Poem for Symphonic Wind Band

  • Duration: ca. 18 minutes
  • Picc, Fl, Ob, Bsn, P.Cl, 3 Cls, A.Cl, B.Cl, A.Sx, T.Sx, B.Sx, 4 Hns, 3 Cnts, 2 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Bar, Tba, Str. Bass, Timp, Perc (4-5)

The symphonic poem Wind of Yemen for Symphonic Wind Band (2000) is based on the traditional tunes and dance melodies which were preserved during the centuries by a very closed society of Yemenite Jews.
The work comprises two connected movements. The first movement depicts a Yemenite desert landscape. The second movement depicts  the Yemenite folk celebration.

The concept was suggested to me by Michael Delman.
The task was very challenging  for me, this was my first introduction to Yemenite Jewish folklore.

When I was a young composer, in the 1980s, Professor Yuri Alexandrovich Fortunatov gave me some advice:

If you need to compose a piece for folklore that is  completely foreign to you, first you must “sink” into it. Only when you feel that you own the style, like it is in your blood beneath the skin, are you ready to compose…

Following that advice, I spent almost three months listening to a massive quantity of audio recordings from Yemenite Jewish folk music, until I was able to internalize the unique feel of its melodic and rhythmic patterns.

In 2000, I completed the Wind of Yemen, and it was premiered by Michael Delman and the Petach-Tikva Conservatoire Symphonic Band.

Wind of Yemen was performed at the Asian Music Festival 2003 (in Tokyo) by the Kosei Wind Orchestra, conducted by Douglas Bostock.

In 2009, it was performed at the WASBE conference by CAM Bétera, conducted by Luis Serrano Alarcón.

In 2010, it was performed in Mano a Mano festival, Bunol, Spain, by CIM La Armónica de Buñol (Valencia), conducted by Frank De Vuyst.
That same year, Wind of Yemen was published in Spain by Piles Editorial de Musica.

In 2015, it was performed  at the WASBE conference (in San Jose, California, USA), by the National Youth Symphonic Band of Israel, conducted by Motti Miron.

In 2018, it was performed at the Singapore International Band Festival, by the Orchestra Collective of Singapore, conducted by Yibin Seow.

Below are recordings from Singapore, Tokyo and from the 2009 WASBE conference. You can also listen to the Mano a Mano festival performance here .

Singapore International Band Festival, 2009
Asian Music Festival, Tokyo, 2003
2009 WASBE Conference, Cincinnati, USA

CAM Bétera
Luis Serrano Alarcón, Conductor

I thought that several other of the performances were also very good, but here is where specific works stand out in my mind as being significant. Boris Pigovat’s Wind of Yemen performed by the Symphonic Band of Centre Artístic Musical de Bétera was marvelous...

Joe H. Brashier
WASBE Conference

I also enjoyed The Winds of Yemen by Boris Pigovat, with its evocative ethnic music. He has a superb website with details of his music, including the Song of the Sea, premiered in Carnegie hall by Murray State University Wind Ensemble conducted by Dennis Johnson. As I reported in a recent homepage, this work was a great success in its recent German premiere, conducted by Michael Kumnmer, and I have no doubt that The Winds of Yemen will join it as a fine example of this composer's music.

Tom Reynish
WASBE Conference