• chrisdumigan

Maurice Ravel : arr. Dusan Bogdanovic : Deux Melodies Hebraiques for Voice and Guitar



RAVEL: L’Enigme Eternelle; Mejerker, Main Suhn

Doberman – Yppan : 8 pages (score only)


Maurice Ravel wrote many works for voice and piano as well as the orchestral , and piano works and other chamber pieces that we know him for. In 1914 he wrote for voice and piano his Deux Melodies Hebraiques, but this latest publication entitled exactly that is not precisely that oeuvre, for Bogdanovic has taken the second of that set, L’Enigme Eternelle and placed it first in this book, and the second piece is from a set written in 1910 called Chants Populaires of which the fourth is Chanson Hebraique, and is the Mejerke , Main Suhn placed here as the second piece. So the publication is Deux Melodies Hebraiques , but not the set called that written in 1914.

Having said all that the two pieces are wonderfully evocative little works, and Bogdanovic has done a great job of making Ravel’s accompaniments seem natural on the guitar, even though in particular the first piece has some very imaginative harmonic moments, not the least of which is the rocking two chord opening that only changes at bar 17.It all fits very well on the guitar tough even though there are a couple of chords you may not actually have come across on your instrument before this! These chords only add to the almost hypnotic quality of the song however, that plays for a little over one and a half minutes and closes leaving the listener in mid – air, wanting more! The second piece is more up- tempo and again has a two note motif that carries on for a good amount of time before long – held six – string chords take over returning to the rocking motif for the next verse. Incidentally there are 5 verses to the piece with only the first printed on the score, the other four being over the page for the vocalist. The score however only gives you a first ending bar and then a second ending bar as the coda, which is a little confusing as I would have thought the first time bar should have been 1, 2, 3, and 4th ending , with the final coda ending being 5th time ending, but it’s not written like that. This piece takes a little under 4 minutes to play, and so this little pairing is quite small in length, but full of atmosphere, which audiences will love, especially if they have never come across these two very enigmatic little songs.


Chris Dumigan


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