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Ukiran Malam : for viola, violoncello, tubular bells and digital delay

by Katia Tiutiunnik (2015)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Luis Enrique Casal, Alexandra Jones, Mariana Ramirez from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 108.

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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 108.


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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 108.

Library shelf no. CD 3066 [Available for loan]

Ukiran Malam


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Work Overview

Ukiran Malam (Malay for Ornament of the Night) is loosely based upon my previous composition, White Night for solo viola, which, in turn, is a transcription of the final piece of my cycle Who is like God?: A Cycle of Four Works For Violoncello. All three compositions comprise originally composed melodies reminiscent of Jewish music of the Eastern European ("Ashkenazi") tradition. These melodies were directly inspired by various transcendent states of ecstasy I experienced during the many "White Nights"(Beliye Nochi) I spent on the rivers and canals of Saint-Petersburg, Russia during my sojourn there in June 2006. (The nature of the "White Nights" can be explained by the geographical location of Saint- Petersburg, which is located at 59 degrees 57' north. Due to such high latitude the sun does not appear to sink below the horizon deep enough for any darkness to occur.) It was while surrendering to one these mystical states-brought on, largely, by the sublime beauty of Saint-Petersburg enshrined, like a precious jewel, in the white summer night-that the melody of White Night came to me. It was at that point that I felt closest to God.

The tubular bells in Ukiran Malam are intended as symbols of spiritual transcendence, due to the mystical connotations of the bell in Russia and beyond. The Russian composer Alexander Scriabin-whose music has always been a great source of inspiration for me-was intrigued by the mystical aspect of Russian bells. The sound of a bell, because of its broad harmonic spectrum, demonstrates multiplicity in unity-hence, the association of bells with the realm of the divine. Temples, shrines, or churches without bells in some form are almost non-existent, anywhere in the world. Religious services utilise their sound as a means of producing heaven on earth.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: Viola, cello, tubular bells, digital delay (2 seconds).

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Elizabeth Reid, Luis Enrique Casal

First performance: by Luis Enrique Casal, Alexandra Jones, Mariana Ramirez at Friday Faculty Feature (Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Concert Hall) on 11 Jan 2019

The composer has noted the following influences on this work:
Spiritual and Sacred Music; Jewish music; Russian music; Arab music; Mesopotamian mythology


Ukiran Malam


Performances of this work

11 Jan 2019: at Friday Faculty Feature (Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Concert Hall). Featuring Luis Enrique Casal, Alexandra Jones, Mariana Ramirez.

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