Classical Music Meets Middle-Eastern Motifs

April 14, 2017

Middle East Economy

Middle East Economy

Classical Music Meets Middle-Eastern Motifs

How can this intertwining take place? It is a bit like eating fusion food. Or listening to an eloquent foreign-accented speaker – you understand every word, but the foreign accent shows through in subtle changes of intonation or small sound-differences of one phoneme or two. Or perhaps, it is just like being in two places at the same time. The soul and suffering of the east, with its depth and solitude and deep meaning – coupled with the grandeur and structure of the west, with its ambition to accomplish and build while absorbing new ways.

The real art in composing such a musical work is in deciding how to manage the two messages at once.  A bit like an entrepreneur, who deftly whips through the turbulent waters of challenge, only to swiftly swoosh up into the skies at the last moment, like an accomplished test pilot. Not too classical, not too pop-like, not too eastern, not too western. How can I make it sound good to both types of listeners? How can two such different audiences enjoy the same thing? And yet, I think, it is not as complicated as all that. For we all have the same hearts, and we all experience the same types of emotions. And we all live in societies, though not at all alike, still have similar types of everyday scenes. Things that are universal, things that affect everyone, everywhere.

So, sometimes there is symbolism in my music. For example, in Quartet Monir, named after my dear sister-in-law, who unfortunately succumbed to cancer at an early age, the music symbolizes a beautiful but frightened and worried bird in a cage, fidgeting for its soul to be released from suffering. In Carmel Market, the odd combination of instruments I have chosen for the ensemble represents haggling at the open market, with the double bass wanting the ‘lowest price’ and the flute the ‘highest’. In Scherzo (‘a joke’), I purposely gave the cello open notes that it can play at full resonance as if ‘laughing from the belly’, while making the poor clarinet play the same notes in its weakest register as if ‘he didn’t get the joke at all’, a common predicament among new immigrants the world over.

And some of my music simply takes small motifs from Persian, Yemenite, Hassidic or Arabic music, while fitting them into a western classical form. And yes, we can combine east and west. But let us take the best from both, and not the worst. For then, we make true art.

 

More Middle East Economy [/random]

, , , ,

Comments are closed.