Chaconne dancer redFrom its popular origins in the 16th century as a wild and erotic dance imported from the New World, the chacona developed into a solemn set of variations over an ostinato bass, addressed by nearly every baroque composer.

Our program brings a taste of different worlds revolving over the chaconne, including two works newly written for PHOENIX by Israeli composers Jonathan Keren and Uri Brener.

Brener's powerful and profound piece gave name to our program; it hints at an ancient piyut of Andalusian origin sang for the Jewish High Holidays, called “Ki Gadol Yom”. Keren's Chaconne is based on a serial bass and explores counterpoint; the contrast between the "anti-Baroque" melodic material and clearly baroque techniques of writing is the driving force behind the work.

The program includes two Passacaglias (the term was used interchangeably with chaconne by Baroque composers), by Biagio Marini and György Ligeti -held as one of the most important avant-garde composers in the latter half of the twentieth century. And chaconnes by Tarquinio Merula, Marin Marais, Henry Purcell, François Couperin, G.F. Haendel and Gustav Holst (yes, the author of The Planets). Couperin's  La Favorite certainly gets the prize of originality among those, being a "chaconne a deux temps", in other words, in duple time!





Cordelia Hagmann – baroque violin

Tali Goldberg - baroque violin

Miriam Manasherov – baroque viola

Myrna Herzog – bass viol, musical direction

Marina Minkin - harpsichord




Biagio Marini (1587-1663) - Passacaglio in G minor Op.22

Tarquinio Merula (c.1594-1665)- Chiaccona 

György Ligeti (1923 –2006) - Passacaglia Ungherese 

Jonathan Keren (b. 1978) - Chaconne (for PHOENIX, world premiere)

Marin Marais (1656-1728) – Chaconne in DM 

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) – Pavan & Chacony in gm 

François Couperin (1668-1733) - La Favorite, Chaconne a deux temps

Gustav Holst (1874–1934) - Chaconne from the First Suite, Op.28 No.1

G. F. Haendel (1685-1759) – Prelude and Chaconne from Terpsichore suite

Uri Brenner (b. 1974) – In search of the Chaconne (for PHOENIX, world premiere) 



Chaconne still 142



"Once again, PHOENIX has presented its listeners with a unique, thought-provoking program, taking the courtly Baroque chaconne as its point of reference and examining works inspired by it right up to today. There was a sense of in-depth enquiry, inventiveness, involvement as well as enormous vivacity in the playing of all five artists, inviting the listener to immerse himself fully in each item on the program".  Pamela Hickman




Uri Brener

Uri BrenerPHOENIX is honored to premiere a piece by composer/pianist/arranger Uri Brener.
Born in Moscow in 1974, Brener studied and performed in Russia, Germany and Holland, before moving to Israel, where he got his PhD with excellence in composition. 

Uri's music is performed worldwide in the most prestigious venues and stages (Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Holland, Canada, USA, Australia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Russia, Serbia, Croatia and more; among others in such venues as MOMA in New York, Capitolini Museum in Rome, The Staatliche Antikensammlungen in Munich, Akademie der Schoene Kunste in Berlin, Tel-Aviv Art Museum and others).
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Jonathan Keren


Jonathan-keren photo Yossi ZweckerPHOENIX is honored to premiere a work by composer/ violinist/ arranger Jonathan Keren. He wrote about it : "Treating melody or a recurring bass have always fascinated me, so I was happy when Myrna Herzog asked me to write a chaconne for the PHOENIX Ensemble…The recurring bass I used in my work is a series of ten notes... (a 12-tone row minus two notes.) This row makes writing in the early style difficult as it does not comprise a typical (chaconne) melodic course, being almost atonal in character…”

Born in Israel in 1978, Keren is an award-winner from the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC (2007), Prime Minister's prize in Composition (2012) and AKUM's “Achievement of The Year in Composition” prize in Israel (2011), a recipient of ASCAP’s Young Composers’ Award prize (2004) and scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation in violin and composition (1997-2003).

 Keren's works have been widely performed in Europe, the US and the Far East; at Carnegie’s Weill Hall; Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall and the Rose Theatre at Jazz in Lincoln Center in New York; the Louvre Museum in Paris; The Berlin Philharmonie Hall; The Juilliard School and New England Conservatory; Contemporary Music Festival at Tanglewood; The Tel-Aviv Museum and Opera House, Jerusalem Music Center and Henry Crown Hall in Israel.