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‘In my opinion, the voice holds the key to everything that is now happening in

music because it reaches all stages of sound, and it is sound that leads us into a
new musical adventure.’

SWAN SONG (no. 97) Playing time: 17’30”

for 12 mixed voices
I-Drone; II-Eleis; III-Épitaphe; IV-Mambo
" Forces: 3 sopranos, 3 mezzos, 3 tenors, 3 basses
! Publisher: Jobert, 1990.
‘In this work, commissioned by the State for the Groupe Vocal de France and
dedicated to Roland Hayrabedian, the composer realised a sort of Requiem on his
own death. However, humour comes to the surface in places, and the texts of the
first and fourth pieces are Afro-Cuban incantations for warding off ill-fortune and
keeping death at bay.
‘1. Drone, from the name of the bass in fauxbourdon, which accompanies the
high voices, serves as an introduction.
‘2. Eleis (allusive abbreviation of the Kyrie) is a Negro spiritual in English as was
spoken by Afro-Americans at the beginning of the 20th century.
‘3. Épitaphe, whose text is also English, is inspired by Ronsard’s poem À son
âme, with the distance introduced by the language but with an irony that, as with
Ronsard, lightens the subject, making it humorous.
‘4. Mambo is an incantation in Afro-Cuban dialect for driving death away.’
‘I was quite influenced by primitive forms of music that I was able to hear, and
my approach is certainly to give back to the voice a bit of its primitive state and
savagery, freeing it from the preciosity of bel canto, which only put the accent on
a single point...’

TOMBEAU DE LOUIZE LABÉ (no. 103) Playing time: 6’

for 12 mixed voices
Sonnet Ô beaux yeus bruns by Louize Labé ‘re-read’ by Maurice Ohana
" Forces: 3 sopranos, 3 mezzos, 3 tenors, 3 basses
! Publisher: Billaudot, 1995
‘My very last work, a sort of madrigal on a poem by Louize Labé, lodges a
challenge, one critic remarked, against my whole vocal aesthetic up to the present
day. Allow me, dear musicologists, to contradict myself in music as elsewhere.’

Works for soli, chorus and orchestra (or instrumental ensemble)


Oratorio for narrator, baritone, women’s chorus, harpsichord and small orchestra,
on the poem by Federico García Lorca
4 parts: I-La cogida y la muerte (The Wound and Death); II-La sangre
derramada (Spilt Blood); III-Cuerpo presente (The Lying Body); IV-Alma
ausente (Absent Soul)
" Forces: baritone solo, narrator, orchestra 1 (+ piccolo).1.2.1,, timpani,
percussion (3 performers), harpsichord, strings, women’s chorus of
8-12 voices.
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