Rhapsodies Hebraiques

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About the author:
David Ezra (prev. Mehmet) Okonsar, pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist is the First Prize Winner at the International Young Virtuosos Competition, Antwerp, Belgium, 1982 and laureate of other prestigious international piano competitions such as the Gina Bachauer, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1991 and J. S. Bach, Paris, France 1989.

David Ezra Okonsar started composing music at the age of 11, his role-models were Arnold Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez.

A copy of Boulez's Third Piano Sonata, found at the library of the Ankara State Conservatory paved the way for his composing track. The French Cultural Centre of Ankara with the comprehensive mediatheque it then possessed, provided Okonsar with overwhelming listening opportunities. Edgar Varese, Pierre Schaeffer, Iannis Xenakis and Olivier Messiaen shaped the musical sensibility of the young Okonsar.

After completing piano studies, he was trained at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music with one of Belgium's foremost composers of our time: Madame Jacqueline Fontyn. He has also been coached by Paris Conservatory's famous analysis teacher: Claude Ballif.

The works of Okonsar were, right from the beginning, fearlessly exploring unusual forms and ensembles. During the eigthties atonal Jazz and similar contemporary idioms found in the music of Cecil Taylor, Bill Evans have been an additional influence to the ever-present extended serialism in the work of Okonsar . Other major extra-serialistic influences who shaped the music of Okonsar are K. Penderecki, I. Xenakis and G. Ligeti.

The practice of electronic-music by Ligeti, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Pousseur and others in the sixties created a completely new and modern approach to orchestration. The classical orchestra's resources begun to be thought in terms of "sound envelopes", "filters", "formants" and so on. Okonsar followed a similar path in the nineties.

The music of Okonsar is highly structured and it is simultaneously inviting and challenging analytical approach.

This complex structural inner-core is presented in the score with a detailed, precise, intricate and refined musical writing.

David Ezra (prev. Mehmet) Okonsar is recipient of the Gold Medal at the "Academie Internationale des Arts Contemporains" of Enghien, Belgium for his compositions.

Rhapsodies Hebraiques

Free form compositions based on popular Jewish melodies

Authored by David Ezra Okonsar

Fervent researcher and lover of Jewish music and Klezmer, the composer adopts here an expanded tonal language and models his renditions of the traditional Jewish melodies on the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt.
This selection of eight numbers among the vast Ashkenazi music repertoire includes a number of Klezmer tunes as well.
In some pieces, for instance the N.8 Hanukkah Medley and N.6 Purim, several melodies are combined and used together. In N.2 Shalom Aleichem, both "Shalom Aleichem" melodies are used. Other Rhapsodies are variations and developments on one single tune.

Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies are referenced throughout this collection. In both spirit and pianistic elaboration, even for the titling, Hebraic Rhapsodies reflect on Hungarian Rhapsodies. Furthermore, even though the melodies are different, there is a resemblance, more in spirit than in actual notes, between Liszt's tunes borrowed from Roman folk culture and the Hebraic themes. Also the Hungarian musical scale and the various scales used in Gypsy music are close to many Hebraic modes and scales.

Publication Date:
150275231X / 9781502752314
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Music / Printed Music / Piano & Keyboard Repertoire

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