Al-Falaq : for trumpet, trombone, 2 gendang, gong agung and togunggak ensemble
by Katia Tiutiunnik (2013)
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Library shelf no. 785.5719/TIU 1 [Available for loan]
Al-Falaq (Arabic for "The Dawn"), draws its poetic impetus from Surat "Al-Falaq"-one of my favourite chapters in the Quran. I should emphasise that I am not a Muslim and that I translated this surah (Arabic for "chapter") solely because I was deeply moved by its mystical symbolism and reputed power to dissipate negative energies. I was also inspired by the sheer beauty of the Arabic language therein - especially when recited musically.
The musical material of Al-Falaq draws upon Arab, Malay and Borneo. I have fused original melodies based upon the Arabian higaz maqām, played by the trumpet and trombone, with rhythmic loops played by Malay percussion instruments (gendang are Malay drums and the gong agung is the largest gong of the Malay gamelan) and the togunggak-a set of bamboo instruments originating from Borneo. This fusion emanated from my desire to create a new, dream like music of a multi-dimensional nature, symbolizing the parallel cultural universes of Arabia, Europe, Borneo and Malaya.
As in my earlier compositions, Malam Putih (for two violas and togunggak )and Abbraciando Dumuzi (for cello, vibraphone and togunggak), these eight cycles are intended to symbolize the mythological motif of "rebirth at the eighth stage, preceded by a journey through seven stages and death", encountered in numerous religious traditions.
Al-Falaq was commissioned by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), for the visit of Borealis Brass of UAF to Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), in March 2013. It received its world premiere on March 20 2013, performed by Borealis Brass (Karen Gustafson-Trumpet and James Bicigo-Trombone), with the gamelan and togunggak parts performed by degree students of the Faculty of Music, UiTM, in the concert "Confluences"--the culminating event of the visit of Borealis Brass to UiTM.
Instrumentation: Trumpet, trombone, 2 gendang (ibu and anak), gong agung and togunggak ensemble.
Duration: 4 min.
Commission note: Commissioned for Borealis Brass.. Commissioned by the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), for the visit of Borealis Brass of UAF to Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), in March 2013
First performance: by Borealis Brass at Confluences: Borealis Brass of the University of Alaska Fairbanks with UiTM Faculty of Music Students (INTEC Hall (International Education College, Seksyen)) on 20 Mar 2013
The composer has noted the following styles and influences on this work:
Jewish music; Arab music; Malay music; the music of Borneo; Islamic music
- Influenced by: Jewish music
Performances of this work
20 Mar 2013: at Confluences: Borealis Brass of the University of Alaska Fairbanks with UiTM Faculty of Music Students (INTEC Hall (International Education College, Seksyen)). Featuring Borealis Brass.
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