Beverley Chiat (Soprano) & Albert Combrink (Piano)

Kaddish (Deux mélodies hébraïques #1) Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)

The setting by Ravel is amended to include a few lines he cut from the original prayer, to make it suitable for use in the Synagogue on Kol Nidre. It is also transposed up a Major Third (to the higher key of E Minor – the original key is C minor) The Soprano is facing away from the Camera at this point, as the prayer is sung facing the Ark which contains the Torah Scrolls.

Recorded Live during the “Kol Nidre” service at Temple Israel Reform Synagogue in Cape Town.

I first got to know the Kaddish in this setting by Ravel.  Written in 1914, just before he enlisted for service in World War I, his Kaddish forms the first of two songs of the Deux mélodies hébraïques. Ravel uses the Aramaic text from the Jewish prayer book for the Kaddish, and the second song, L’Énigme éternelle is based on a traditional Yiddish verse. They were first performed in June 1914 by Alvina Alvi — who had commissioned them — with Ravel at the piano. In 1919 and 1920 Ravel orchestrated the two songs. Ravel had earlier set a Yiddish text Mejerke, main Suhn” under the title Chanson hébraïque as the fourth of the  Chants populaires (1910). Ravel’s mother was Basque, and Ravel is thought to have developed a certain affinity with Spain from her.

Kaddish (קדיש Aramaic: “holy”) refers to an important and central prayer in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God’s name. In the liturgy, several variations of the Kaddish are used functionally as separators between various sections of the service. The term “Kaddish” is often used to refer specifically to “The Mourners’ Kaddish,” said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of “saying Kaddish”, this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning.


Download Free Sheet Music of the Kaddish (Deux mélodies hébraïques #1) by Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) HERE:
Ravel: Mélodies_Hébraïques (voice_& piano) PDF

Soprano Beverley Chiat

Soprano Beverley Chiat

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