Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Vocalise-étude (1928) for medium voice and piano and two subsequent transcriptions, Chant hébraïque for cello and piano (1930) and Chant hébraïque for violin and piano (1930), are now available once again from Alphonse Leduc via designated retailers.
In 1928, Amédée-Landély Hettich, a vocal teacher in Paris, asked Castelnuovo-Tedesco to write a vocalise for the Répertoire moderne de Vocalises-Études, the publication of which he was supervising at Éditions Musicales Alphonse Leduc. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s contribution, entitled Vocalise-Étude for Medium Voice, became so popular that it was immediately transcribed several times over.
The present adaptation for cello and piano, was created, with prior consent from the composer, by the Catalan cellist Gaspar Cassadó in 1930 under the title Chant hébraïque. That same year, Gioacchino Maglioni (1891-1961), a composer and teacher at the Conservatoire Luigi Cherubini in Florence, transcribed the work for violin and piano, which was also published under the name Chant hébraïque.
By the mid-1920s Jewish music had become a source of inspiration for the composer. This work opens with a poignant lamento that grieves the tragic fate of the Jewish people; it is followed by a folk dance whose “brisk and stubborn” movement marks, with panache, an imperious refusal to yield to resignation and inspires hope.