If it had not been for these thing, I might have live out my life, talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have die, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, for joostice, for man’s onderstanding of man, as now we do by an accident.
Our words – our lives – our pains – nothing! the taking of our lives-lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish peddler- all! That last moment belong to us-that agony is our triumph!
Soprano: Joanna Brown
Dubai Chamber Orchestra
Conductor: Barnaby Priest
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.
Along with Lidia Stankulova (harp) and Irena Mitevska Mileva (flute) Christopher J. Cameron gave the first performance of The Landscape Listens at the Gallery XVA in the Al Fahadi District in Dubai, 12th March 2013.
Sadly, Chris passed away at the end of October 2021. This piece is dedicated to his memory.
Hidden Reflection forms part of an ongoing series of pieces that use ‘found objects’ as the core material: in this case, Franz Schubert’s Ellens dritter Gesang, (D. 839, Opus 52, No. 6), written in 1825. This piece is better known to audiences as Schubert’s Ave Maria.
Hidden Reflection focuses on the harmonic material in the accompaniament of the original rather than the melody, which remains hidden.