Lest We Forget (2009)

Lest We Forget (2009)

For Symphonic Wind Band / For Symphony Orchestra

  • Duration: ca. 16 minutes
  • SWB: Picc, 2 Fls ( = Picc. 2,3), A.Fl, Ob, Bsn, P.Cl, 3 Cls, B.Cl, 2 A.Sxs, T.Sx, B.Sx, 4 Hns, 4 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Bar, Tba, Timp, Perc (4-5).
  • SO: Picc, 2 Fls ( = Picc 2, 3) 2 Obs, Eb Cl, 2 Cls, B.Cl, 2 Bsns, C-Bsn, 4 Hns, 3 Tpts, 2 Tbns, B. Tbn, Tba, Timp, Perc, Hp, Str.

Lest We Forget is a tone poem that begins with narration of the following text:

It was as in a dream:
I was standing at the top of the mountain and watching down at the Alpine valley. The view was marvelous – the green meadows surrounded by groves, small houses and herds. The pure mountain air rang as the most wonderful and fascinating music. Calm and serenity reigned at that corner of Paradise.
Suddenly I shuddered, because the name of the place I was standing was Kehlsteinhaus (the Eagle’s Nest). From this place had crawled out into the world a monster that brought suffering, torment and death to millions of people. This monster defiled and contaminated the all that it had touched; its stink poisoned the pure air. It was an absolute evil – self-satisfied, impudent, triumphant and bloodthirsty. This evil devastated the wonderful world that was full of Hope, turned it into the valley of weeping, the valley of sorrow, pain and tears.
If we forget about it, the monster will come back.

conceived the composition in 1999, , but it  took me about 10 years to complete it.
In Hebrew, I named it Lo Tishkach! (Do not forget!); these words conclude the verse about Amalek from Deuteronomy (25:19).
That was also how I initially named the piece in English. But later I decided to rename it Lest we forget, a phrase that is inscribed on a monument for Holocaust victims that I was in Wellington.

The poem was written for symphonic wind band. In February, 2010, Michael Delman premiered it with the symphonic wind band of the Petah-Tikva Conservatoire.

In 2010, I prepared a version for symphony orchestra, which has not yet been performed.

Below is the recording from the premiere.

Jewish Wedding / Tzfat (2002 - 2008)

Jewish Wedding / Tzfat (2002 - 2008)

  • Duration: ca. 10 minutes

In 2001 I met Giora Feidman, a world-wide famous clarinetist and performer of klezmer music. He gave me a couple of his CDs. I was so impressed by his performance, that I decided to write a piece in klezmer style, a kind of klezmer rhapsody, and to dedicate it to him.

As a composer-in-residence at the Petach-Tikva Conservatoire, I was committed to write a piece for trombone and wind orchestra.
I decided to write this piece as a klezmer rhapsody and to name it Tzfat (Safed), the name of a city where klezmer music festivals take place yearly.
Tzfat for trombone and wind orchestra was written and performed in 2002 (see recording, below).

In 2004 I prepared a version of Tzfat for violin and string orchestra, which was also performed (see recording, below).

In 2008 I met Giora Feidman again, and he listened to Tzfat. He loved the composition, and he asked me for two additional versions of it: one for clarinet and string orchestra and another for clarinet and string quartet. He also suggested to rename the piece to Jewish Wedding, arguing that, outside of Israel, people are unfamiliar with Tzfat.

The version for clarinet and string orchestra was performed by Giora with a string group of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (see recording below). The version with string quartet was performed the with Gershwin Quartet  more than 30 times – in Germany, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Russia and Ukraine. See below  for a YouTube video from a performance in the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall.

Later, at the request of other performers, I prepared additional versions of this Jewish Wedding / Tzfat:

  • for Trumpet and Strings (arranged for ensemble of members of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • for Piano Trio
  • for Piano Quintet
  • for Clarinet & Saxophones Quartet
  • for Clarinet, Cello & Piano
  • for Clarinet, Violin & Piano
  • for Saxophone, Violin & Piano

In Israeli Sketches, a suite for wind orchestra, I re-used Tzfat content, but made it purely orchestral without any solo instrument.

Looking back to 2001, when I met Giora Feidman for the first time, I could not have imagined such exciting developments!

Below are the recordings.

Tzfat for Trombone and Wind Orchestra
Tzfat for Violin and String Orchestra
Jewish Wedding for Clarinet and String Orchestra
Jewish Wedding for Clarinet and String Quartet
Nov, 2008: Concert of Remembrance of 70th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, Wellington, New Zealand

Nov, 2008: Concert of Remembrance of 70th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, Wellington, New Zealand

Holocaust Requiem was performed for it’s second time at the Concert of Remembrance for the 70th Anniversary of Kristallnacht.
The outstanding performance by violist Dr. Donald Maurice, Professor of Music at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, conductor Mark Taddei, and Vector Wellington Orchestra, was widely reviewed by local and international media.

Later, Donald Maurice remembered:

The performance was in 2008 but is indelibly etched into my memory. Many people were in tears. I myself said, ‘I must not cry!’” Commenting on the composition’s future and potential for effecting change, he observed, “It needs to be performed often as a reminder of the effects of war and the circumstances that precipitate one culture wanting to dominate or annihilate another.

A live recording of Requiem from the event was released by Atoll, in November 2010, with other pieces of mine.

Here is an audio recording of an interview given by Donald Maurice and Marc Taddei to Radio New Zealand (Nov 2008).

Below are some samples of that amazing performance and some photos from the event.

Requiem “The Holocaust” is not music for the faint of heart. The listener is drawn inexorably into the unfolding tragedy... Pigovat runs a stylistic gamut from tonal to expressionistic with hints of Berg and Shostakovich as he gradually unfolds his nightmare. Though instrumental throughout, there are times one can hear “Re—qui-em” among the many busy layers of musical texture.

Dwight Pounds
Journal of the American Viola Society

The Music is harrowing and tense, and very Russian in sound. Echoes of contemporary composers such as Denisov, Kanchelli and Gubaidulina can be heard, as well as the inexorable thread of Shostakovich in the Dies Irae, but the voice of the composer remains highly individual. Balancing the violence, anger and tension is the conciliatory beauty of the Lux Eterna that rounds out a work of deeply felt power.

John Button
The Dominion Post
November 11, 2008

Using purely orchestral forces this 46-minute symphonic-concerto encompasses ear-splitting anguish, horror and confusion -- tolling tintinnabulations mark the outset of unspeakable atrocities while abject grief is heightened by sonorous lamentations of the solo viola; a role of unusually formidable demands.

Howard Smith
M&V Daily, Concert Reviews
November 13, 2008

Pigovat's music is evocative and distuibing in its depiction of the Holocaust. With styles reminiscent of other Russian composers, including the rich melancholy of Shostakovich the compositional style is still distinctly Pigovat's own. Intense and strongly assured it is a life-affirming piece that makes a telling statemen with subtlety.

Garth Wilsher
Capital Times, NZ
December, 2008
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

Symphony No.1 "Memorial" (1984; revised in 1987)

Symphony No.1 "Memorial" (1984; revised in 1987)

  • Duration: ca. 28 minutes
  • 3 Fls (Picc), 2 Obs (E.Hn), 3 Cls (B.Cl), 2 Bsns, 4 Hns, 3 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Tuba, Timp, Perc (4), Cel, Hp, Str.

The Memorial symphony is dedicated to the victims of World War II, a theme that touched me personally.

I was very excited for the composition’s premiere to be performed by the  USSR Symphony Cinema Orchestra, in 1988, in Moscow. For a young composer, this was an amazing opportunity. Plus, this was the first time that I heard the symphony performed live, and it was also recorded — by the best orchestra I could have wished for at that time.

Below, is the live recording of the premiere. The recording is old, and there are some background noises, so please accept my apology for that.