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Three Goat Blues

Digital Sheet Music

By Gilad Cohen

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String Quartet - Digital Download
Composed by Gilad Cohen. 21st Century, Contemporary Classical, Jewish. 87 pages. Published by Gilad Cohen Music (S0.208235).

Item Number: S0.208235

“Chad Gadya” (“one littlegoat” in Aramaic) is a popular prayer from the Jewish holiday ofPassover. While the holiday celebrates the biblical journey of theIsraelites from slavery to freedom, “Chad Gadya” tells the story of one littlegoat that, right at the beginning of the prayer, is eaten by a cat. Thistragic event begins a horrific fable about the power of nature, in which eachbeing is killed by one larger than itself. Following the 20th-centuryFrench composer Darius Milhaud, who wove Provençal Jewish prayers into hismusic, I chose to use an old Provençal tune of “Chad Gadya” as amusical source for my piece. I decided, however, that the poor animaldeserves a second chance. Instead of one goat, my piece portrays three(or possibly three aspects of the same goat).  The first one isan oppressed, captive goat who sings the blues through the low-rangedcello. The viola represents a second goat that finds its way outof captivity and frolics here and there, but unfortunatelyits memories of oppression do not allow it to find peace. Onlythe third goat, featured by the violin, reaches true salvation. In a freeadaptation of the original Provençal melody, the goat celebrates its freedom bydancing among the hills using awkward meters (since I can’t reallyimagine a goat dancing in 4/4 time). The piece was commissioned by ApolloChamber Players for their 20x2020 project, underwritten by a grant from theHouston Arts Alliance, and was written for their "Oppression to Expression" season program"Rhapsody Nouveau," connecting works influenced by Provençal Jewishand African-American traditions. 2017 Chamber Music Contest Entry

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