Risala (2018) for full orchestra - ca. 15'
3 2 2 2 - 4 3 3 1 - tmp+2 - str
April 13–14 2018: Columbus Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rossen Milanov at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, OH
May 20, 2018: Princeton Symphony Orchestra conducted by Rossen Milanov at the Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, NJ
Risala (pronounced ree-SA-leh), or “message” in Arabic, aims to convey how we, as a society, portray meaning through messages, in whatever form they may be, and how they can change over time and through the hands of different peoples. In this work, the strings act as ‘deliverers,’ first ‘orated’ from the principal violist. Over the course of the first half of the work, that initial message is continually handed off from one ‘deliverer’ to the next, leading to an accumulation of slightly varied responses. Not everyone interprets that initial message in exactly the same way, though the eventual mass of players do move together in generally a similar path. The second half of the work begins with melancholic, somewhat meandering trumpet solos that seem to have ‘missed out’ on what has taken place, but is then taken over by a proclamation in the form of a brass chorale. By the end of the work, the message is revealed to be more optimistic in tone than initially perceived, leading to a triumphant finish.
Composers Derek Bermel and Saad Haddad discuss "Risala" ahead of world premiere performance by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.