Life and career
Ohana was born in Casablanca, Morocco. He was a British citizen until 1976, as his father had been born in the British overseas territory Gibraltar. He originally studied architecture, but abandoned this in favour of a musical career, initially as a pianist. He studied under Alfredo Casella in Rome, returning to France in 1946. Around this time he founded the "Groupe Zodiaque", which fought against prevailing musical dogma. His mature musical style shows the influence of Mediterranean folk music, particularly the Andalusian cante jondo.
Ohana's output includes the choral works Office des Oracles and Avoaha (1992), three string quartets (1963, 1980, 1989), and two suites for ten-string guitar: Si le jour paraît... (1963) and Cadran lunaire (1981-2), as well as a Tiento for six-string guitar (1957). He also wrote operas entitled Syllabaire pour Phèdre and La Celestina.
He is also known for his extensive use of microtonality; for example, third- and quarter-tones in pieces like Le Tombeau de Debussy and Si le jour paraît.... He was influenced by the use of microintervals in the cante jondo.
Ohana rarely composed for large symphony orchestra: Synaxis (1966), Livre des Prodiges (1979) and T'Harân-Ngô (1973-1974). He composed two cello concertos, one piano concerto and a guitar concerto (1950–58; dedicated to Narciso Yepes).
- Si le jour paraît...
- Cadran lunaire
- Jedrzejewski, Franck. 2003. Dictionnaire des musiques microtonales ("Dictionnary of microtonal music"), Paris, L'Harmattan, ISBN 2-7475-5576-3; Bayer Francis. 1981. De Schönberg à Cage : Essai sur la notion d'espace dans la musique contemporaine, Paris, Klincksieck, ISBN 2-252-02329-5
- Halbreich, Harry. 1997. An Andalusian from Paris to New Orleans, liner notes of CD-release 1C1039 on Timpani Records.
- Liner notes to the Narciso Yepes recording
- Défense et illustration de la musique contemporaine - Le Cadran Lunaire by Arnaud Dumond (French)
- A propos de Pierre Boulez et de Maurice Ohana by Arnaud Dumond, Les Cahiers de la Guitare, July 1982 (French)
- Maurice Ohana: l’originalità di un linguaggio (parte prima) – Cenni biografici e riferimenti culturali by Isabella Abbonizio, «Il Fronimo» n .131, luglio 2005, pp. 31–42 (Italian)
- Estelas, by Mauricio Ohana (The history of a guitar-work composed in collaboration with Abel Carlevaro) - by Alfredo Escande
- Maurice Ohana: l’originalità di un linguaggio (parte seconda) – Un profilo estetico e l’opera per chitarra by Isabella Abbonizio, «Il Fronimo» n. 132, ottobre 2005, pp. 24–36 (Italian)
- Maurice Ohana: l’originalità di un linguaggio (parte terza) – Il Tiento by Isabella Abbonizio, «Il Fronimo» n. 133, gennaio 2006, pp. 36–46 (Italian)
- Excerpts from sound archives of Ohana's works.
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