“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?

Nov, 2013: "Poem of Dawn" for Viola and Symphony Orchestra at Il Settembre dell’Accademia

Nov, 2013: "Poem of Dawn" for Viola and Symphony Orchestra at Il Settembre dell’Accademia

  • Duration: ca. 15 minutes
  • 2 Fls, 2 Obs, 2 Cls, 2 Bsns, 4 Hns, 2 Tpts, 3 Tbns, Timp, Perc, Hp, solo Vla, Str.

I composed Poem of Dawn in 2010 for violist Anna Serova, to whom it is also dedicated.
The piece was inspired by Nikolaj Kun’s Legends and Myths of Ancient Greece (1914):

The morning is near… There is a faint light in the East. Aeos and Pyrios, the morning stars and harbingers of Dawn, shine brightly in the East. There is a gentle breeze. The light in the East glows brighter and brighter… In vivid colours, on rosy wings, Dawn is soaring into the illuminated sky, drenched in rosy light. Dawn pours dew from her golden urn onto the Earth, and the dew sprinkles the grass and flowers with glistening, diamond-like drops. All is fragrant, all around. The waking Earth happily greets the Sun – Helios.

I wrote Poem of Dawn using the style and compositional methods of the Russian Romantic school, which I  believed to be particularly well-suited to the warm, expressive sound of Serova’s viola playing.

The premiere took place at the Il Settembre dell’Accademia 2013, Teatro Filarmonico di Verona (Italy), performed by Anna Serova and the Symphony Orchestra of Croatian Radio and TV, conducted by Nicola Guerini.
Poem of Dawn was recorded, together with Holocaust Requiem, for the Naxos label. In June 2015, the CD  was released by Naxos, received the Supersonic Award from Pizzicato Magazine, and was nominated for the 2016 International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).

In September 2017, Anna performed Poem of Dawn in the 44th International Viola Congress, in Wellington New Zealand. I obtained a special approval to share the video of that amazing performance with my followers.
Click here to visit the event page where the video is available.

Below are some samples of the premiere and some photos from the event.

The Poem of Dawn, composed for the distinguished violist and soloist on this disc, Anna Serova, is a warm natured tone poem in the Romantic tradition, its message one of love a beauty.

David Danton
David's Review Corner
June, 2015

This is a beautifully textured, lyrical work. Its main interest lies in the viola solo and in Serova's lyrical and beautiful performance on her instrument.

Robin Friedman
Amazon Top Reviews
July 18, 2015

I am referring to Pigovat's rapturous "Poem of Dawn," which knocked my soaring soul out of its body and had me (still has me!) playing it repeatedly. If you love the music of Claude Debussy and have found yourself swooning over Ernest Chausson's "Poeme de l'amour et de la mer," you're sure to fall irretrievably in love with this work.

Joel Kovacik
Amazon Top Reviews
August 19, 2015
2013: Sonata for Viola and Piano - International Viola Congress at Krakow and "home is where..." CD

2013: Sonata for Viola and Piano - International Viola Congress at Krakow and "home is where..." CD

  • Duration: ca. 26 minutes

I composed Sonata for Viola and Piano in 2012 for violist Donald Maurice, after his great performance of the Holocaust Requeim at the Concert of Remembrance of 70th Anniversary of Kristallnacht in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2008.

The piece was conceived for the Home is where… CD launched by Atoll (New Zealand), and starring Donald Maurice and Richard Mapp.

Donald premiered this piece in 2013 at the International Viola Congress, in Krakow, Poland, with pianist Wioletta Fluda.
The Atoll CD was released that same year.

Later, in February and March 2015, the piece was performed at three concerts in the United States:
The American premiere was in Baltimore, featuring soloists Peter Minkler (viola) and Lura Johnson (piano).
Eight days later, in Houston featuring Lawrence Wheeler (viola) and Tali Morgulis (piano).
In March 2015, in Walden, Colorado, featuring Barbara Sudweeks (viola) and Jo Boatright (piano).

The first movement of Sonata  was influenced by the strong emotional impact of two paintings: Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna del Magnificat (1483-1485) and и Madonna della Melagrana (Virgin with a Pomegranate) (1487).

While working on Sonata, I had an idea that it could also be performed as standalone piece; I named this piece Botticelli’s Magnificat. 

I shared my idea with Donald and received his support. Donald premiered Botticelli’s Magnificat before the premiere of Sonata.

In 2013, this piece was performed by the young Israeli violist Matan Noussimovich (you can listen to the recording, below).

Below are some samples from the Home is where… CD and recordings from the U.S. premiere, and of Botticelli’s Magnificat.

Recording from the U.S. premiere in Baltimore, featuring Peter Minkler (viola) and Lura Johnson (piano)
Recording from the performance of Botticelli's Magnificat, featuring Matan Noussimovich (viola) and Pazit Gal (piano)
Sept, 2012: "Requiem" CD received Pizzicato's Supersonic Award

Sept, 2012: "Requiem" CD received Pizzicato's Supersonic Award

In 2010, Atoll released the “Requiem” CD, which includes the live recording from the performance of Requiem in the Concert of Remembrance for Kristallnacht 1938, and three of my other pieces, all starred by Donald Maurice (viola), an excellent performer and a dear friend of mine.
In 2012 the “Requiem” CD was awarded the Supersonic Award by the Luxembourg classical music magazine, Pizzicato.

Below are some samples from the CD.

Live recording of "Requiem" (samples)

Part 4 “Lux Aeterna” published by Atoll in YouTube

Prayer for Viola and Piano (samples)
Silent Music for Viola and Harp
Nigun for String Quartet (samples)