Kukia, Variations, Op. 186 (1946)

A historical live concert at the YMCA Hall in Jerusalem on September 24, 1963:
Sergio Comissiona, Conductor
Haifa Symphony Orchestra
Note: The variation for Piccolo, Tuba and Woodwinds are from a November 2010 recording by the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra with conductor Garlo Goldstein.

Orchestration: pic,1,1,1,1-2,2,1,1-timp+2-hp-str

Duration: 25 minutes

Publisher: The Marc Lavry Heritage Society

Synopsis:
Like many Israeli composers, Marc Lavry was introduced to Yemenite music and Israeli folklore by singer Bracha Zefira. The theme of the composition is based on the Yemenite folk song – The Cuckoo.

The composition consists of 20 short movements through which Lavry introduces the musical instruments of the orchestra.

He devotes a variation to each instrument according to its place within its respective section:

         Woodwind section: Flute (introduces the theme) – Piccolo – Oboe – Clarinet – Bassoon
         String section: Violin – Viola – Cello – Contrabass
         Brass section: Horn – Trumpet – Trombone – Tuba
         Percussion section: Percussion (featuring the xylophone) – Timpani
         Harp
He continues with variations for the orchestral sections:
         Woodwinds
         Strings
         Brass and percussion
And he then ends with the full orchestra. The Finale opens in a fugue and evolves into an Israeli Hora dance typical of the period in general and of Lavry in particular.

Marc Lavry, in his mischief, winks in a few movements to famous classical compositions, like the horn variation in an homage to Tchaikovski.

It is interesting to note that although Marc Lavry and Benjamin Britten did not know each other, they both chose in 1946 to borrow themes from other sources and introduce the symphonic orchestra through variations. Britten used a theme by composer Henry Purcell for his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Lavry chose the Yemenite folk song The Cuckoo for the Kukia Variations.

 

Performances:

November 14,15,17/2010
Raanana Symphonette Orchestra
Garlo Goldstein, Conductor

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