Hawa (2018) - ca. 10'
1 1 1 1 - 2 1 1 0 - 2perc - hp - str
Written for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra as part of its inaugural Classical Evolve Composer Competition
Premiered May 8, 2018: Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stilian Kirov at Ozinga Chapel on the campus of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL
Hawa, or ‘air,’ in Arabic, is in a sense a play on the word for the Western musical form typically composed for vocal-centric compositions, though also often employed in purely instrumental works. This composition seeks to expound on one melody, which is mainly orchestrated for the strings, that encompasses the entire work, beginning with just a few of the most important pitches that appear most often in the ensuing material. The flute section provides an important structural element, serving as the ‘ghost’ tones for the long melody, almost as if to harken to a distantly related ‘air.’ The epilogue provides a respite of ‘last remarks,’ as if to say farewell to one ‘air,’ which may or may not perhaps lead to another. The work’s scalar vocabulary relies on a series of maqamat, or Arab modes, which informed the selection of pitches on a more personal, sometimes unconscious, level, while the harmony itself follows mainly Western tertian constructs typically employed in much of the repertoire from the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.