Al-Laila : a lamentation for 'oud
by Katia Tiutiunnik (2014)
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Library shelf no. 787.82/TIU 2 [Available for loan]
The title, al-Laila, is an Arabic word signifying the darkest stage of twilight. It is also related to the Hebrew word Hebrew word for "night", laylah (לילה). In composing al-Laila my intention was to create a symbolic form portraying the darkest stage of dusk, as a metaphor for the state mourning and lament.
Due to the nature of its poetic impetus, al-Laila includes references to a previous composition of mine, Between Two Rivers (i): Lament of the flutes for Dumuzi for flute and piano-a much performed work which gives expression to the religious experiences, which, in ancient Mesopotamia, found expression in the cult of Dumuzi. Lament of the flutes for Dumuzi was conceived out of my long standing engagement with the religious literature of ancient Mesopotamia, whereas al-Laila contains specific references to the Arab Islamic world.
Instrumentation: 'Oud solo.
Duration: 5 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Dr. Nathan William Fischer
Commission note: Commissioned by Dr. Nathan William Fischer
Unlike at-Taubah, my first composition for ‘oud, the melodic material of al-Laila comprises a complex modulatory sequence of maqāmāt (plural for maqām), traditionally used in Arab improvisatory taqseem. In this regard, the scholarly writings of Scott Marcus, on the topic of modulation in Arab music, were of invaluable assistance.
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