Maurice Ravel
Kaddisch: arranged for trombone or euphonium and piano

Arranged by Gordon Cherry

arranged for trombone or euphonium and piano

Vancouver, BC, , Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2016

Grade 4/5


This is one of two songs commissioned by Alvina Alvi, a soprano with the St. Petersburg Opera. She first performed them with the composer at the piano in June 1914, less than two months before the outbreak of the First World War. It’s an arrangement of a Missinai melody from the Ashkenazi tradition, setting a Hebrew and Aramaic text, included in this publication together with an English translation. Though often associated with mourning, it is a prayer for peace, without any mention of death. In 1919 Ravel transcribed the work for ‘cello and orchestra, from which the adaptation to trombone is not too much of a stretch.

This transcription is in the original key of C minor. Trombone range is c-g1; tessitura lies almost entirely in mid-range. The music is well-suited to the trombone; there are no significant technical difficulties, but its interpretation is demanding. To get a good sense of its emotionally intense style, listen to Jerusalem cantor Azi Schwartz. The piano part is of moderate difficulty; it begins sparely with wide-spaced two and three note chords. The compositional density increases up to 8 and 9 parts in the final measures, where chordal clusters include all of the notes of the melody they accompany. The largest required span is a 9th. This is an imaginative and eloquent contribution to the trombone repertoire.


Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019