Tasalsul I (2022) – ca. 6'
This work was originally composed for solo flute and adapted by the composer for solo violin. Tasalsul I, or ‘sequence’ in Arabic, takes its name from Luciano Berio’s Sequenze, with the first sequenza also featuring the solo flute. The flute’s connection with the nay, an ancient Arab recorder, makes it a worthy vessel for expressing the microtonally-inflected modes, or maqamat, which is common to the region. In Western music, composers like Wagner and Schoenberg revolutionized music by developing harmonic systems that modulate beyond closely related key centers, and in the case of Schoenberg, went so far as to expound that all pitches have equal weight in his twelve-tone technique. This work explores ways that this evolutionary progression can be realized within the realm of the maqamat, which has traditionally been relegated to very closely related key areas within the scope of a composition. C.P.E. Bach’s Sonata in A minor will serve as a jumping-off point in terms of the way the work creates a sense of harmony with a single-line solo instrument. This work also utilizes rhythmic motives drawn from the Arab iqa’at, which are realized through the lens of French composer Yan Maresz’s solo flute work, Circumambulation, and the writings on Arab rhythmic structure by the late Lebanese percussionist, Michel Baklouk Merhej. Selected melodic fragments from Egyptian composer Abdo Dagher’s The New Egyptian-Arabic Sufic Art Music are quoted throughout to create direct contrast with the C.P.E. Bach-inspired material.