Luaisyha (2017) for two sopranos and sinfonietta - ca. 12'
two sopranos + 1 1 1/bcl 2asax 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc + elec - str [2 1 1 1]
Luaisyha is dedicated to and written in reflection of the relationships of two pairs of inseparable sisters in my family, Lucy Haddad and Sylva Naber, and Aida and Hayat Haddad. The work features a pair of sopranos that are electronically processed live to emit highly ecstatic melismatic figures borrowed from the renowned Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum’s early period recordings. The phrases emanating from the speakers in the hall are often heard back in counterpoint with the live singing, evoking highly ornamented versions of the Western-trained sopranos’ voices. As the piece unfolds, the instrumental ensemble comments on the sopranos’ actions, sometimes playing along with, though other moments playing against the singing ‘sisters.’ While the orchestra mostly serves in an accompanimental role (not unlike many members of my own family when they’re around these sisters!), members of the ensemble attempt to break into the spotlight, only to be outlasted by the sopranos.
Premiered June 2, 2017: Albany (NY) Symphony Orchestra's 'Dogs of Desire' conducted by David Alan Miller at Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY