Instrumentation: 2 clarinets
Commissioned by the Aubarra Clarinet Duo: Jonathan Aubrey and Michael Rex Bacarra
First performed by them at the XVA Gallery in Al Fahidi Historical District, Dubai
SIKKA (path) takes its name from the narrow streets to be found in the Al Fahidi Historical District in Dubai. These streets between high walls, are evocative of an historical past quite distinct from the modern image of Duabi as global metropolis. They evoke, for me, images and memories of a calmer time when the pace of life was less frenetic. As I wander through the maze of narrow streets I am always surprised and delighted as each turn in the road opens onto a small square, a view of a distant minaret, a glimpse of the busy Dubai Creek, a detail of domestic architecture or, through an open door, a glimpse into the inner courtyard of one of the many houses that have now been restructured. As you continue walking the sounds of the distant city come to you unexpectedly as the high walls protect you from the buzz beyond the area. In the evening, as the sun sets, the shadows lengthen and day turns to night, you are bathed in the sound of the muezzin’s call to prayer from the many mosques. My music takes inspiration from this very special, physical environment.
SIKKA is divided into three short contrasting movements. The first movement uses a very limited range of notes in the middle register of each performer, the players play an augmenting canon where they chase one another. The image here is of ripples on the water of the nearby creek where the vivid colours of working dhows reflect endlessly in the water disturbed by the passing abbras as they ferry people from one side to the other of the creek. The second movement, where a melody is passed and varied between the two players, is evocative of the tranquility and silence in the Sikka in the early morning mist. The final movement, much faster and lighter in character pits two scale like figure against one another, the one fast and upward moving, the other descending moving at a slower speed.