Maurice Ohana

Études chorégraphiques(1955)  Duration: 16’

Two versions : 4 or 6 players

Etudes chorégraphiques (4 players) – 10’, Vibra, Xylo, Glockenspiel, BD., SD., Tamb.Militaire, Tambourin, 4 Tomtoms, Cym, Tamtam, WBl., Maracas, amboss, Gong, Triangle, Alm-Glocken;


Etudes chorégraphiques (6 Spieler) – 15’., Glockenspiel, Marimba, 2 Vibra, Xylo, 4 chin. Cym, 7 Gongs, 8 Tomtoms, 3 TBl, additional drums and cymbals.


Commissioned by Dora Hoyer; Dedicated to Percussions de Strasbourg; Premiered in 1961 in Strasbourg, France


Commissioned by the Radio Hamburg, the Études chorégraphiques were written for the dancer Dora Hoyer  and her husband, a percussionist who accompanied her on her tours. The first version, written for four performers, soon gave way to a second version for six performers, for the Percussions de Strasbourg. Placed on the stage, the performers are involved in the choreographie,  because their playing requires the usage of the performers body and its spectacular appearance.

Convinced that the contemporary ear needs to be able to escape from the diatonic scale, and struck by the sensitivity of black African and Andalusian instruments, attracted by the enormous expressive potential of skin instruments and the harmonic richness of the sound of metal or wood – little used in European music – Ohana after Varese and at the same time than many composers of the years from 55 to 60, explores these sounds that became later a key part of his musical universe. Organized in a succession of contrasting sequences, the four studies exploit systematically, and relatively “naive” in relation to later works, melodic, rhythmic and harmonic aspects where metal percussion instruments like gongs and cymbals play an important role. Their resonance brings, like Michel Bernard writes, “the release from the diatonic gradation”.



Annotated by Laurent Warnier