On Desert Rose

On Desert Rose, for guitar quartet

Date of composing June 2017

Genre program Romantic piece, fantasy, musical poem

Style Neo-Romantic, Romantic, Arabic ethnic

Duration [11′]

Level of difficulty intermediate

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini   all rights reserved

Description

In D, Lontano. Lento sostenuto.  A program composition inspired by Arabian desert, its nature and culture, and based on the poem composed specifically for this music by Natalia Pispini.

In spring 2017, I received the suggestion from classical guitarist César Mora to compose a piece for his ensemble Cairo Guitar Collective based in Cairo, Egypt. The proposition was to compose music which would reflect Arabic elements. I liked the idea and the new challenge of composing for the guitar. Some years ago I have visited the National Museum in Riyadh where I was impressed by the desert rose, the rock formation with amazing scheme of rose petals (the photo of this rock is used in the image above). So, I thought of the desert like metaphor of death, loneliness, indifference, while the rose could symbolize life, love, expectations… Thus, the fabula, then the poem and the music were created.

Poem

ON  DESERT  ROSE

… no one can see her beauty

after the wind ’s soft blowing

the desert rose’s come to life at night

 

her unexpected beauty

 

and in the morning  – a breathless rock again

one has to guard another spring

as month shaban ’ll be coming

in hazy gleams of sickle moon hilal

guard as it ‘ll breeze from south …

 

Program plot can be described as following:

It had happened in a lonely desert. There was a stone desert rose. Once by night, in spring, in month shaban, under the crescent moon hilal, after the south wind the stone desert rose had become an alive flower. It revealed its shining beauty but nobody could see it in the desert at night. The morning and the sunrise came, and the rose became a stone again.

Musical themes

The main musical themes are those of

desert (mm.1-16),

night and loneliness (mm. 16-19, 28-39),

crescent moon (mm. 50-53),

south wind (mm. 63-66),

desert rose crystal stone (mm. 20-26),

desert rose as a beautiful flower (mm. 112-127),

morning light of the sunrise (mm. 156-169).

Musical structure

The musical structure is a long Romantic program piece with 4 major sections:

Introduction (Lontano) It’s like the beginning of a fairy-tale. Refers to the place of the story, the Arabian desert.

Exposition (Lento sostenuto. Lento arioso. Con moto etc., letters A-B) shows the initial situation (it is night in the desert, there is a stone rose, and the crescent moon is on the sky, and the south wind is blowing).

Middle Section (Meno mosso. Più mosso etc., letters C-D) describes how the stone rose became an alive flower, and show its beauty.

Final Section (Lento sostenuto. Lento arioso, letters E-F-G) reminds about the desert, night and loneliness, and leads to the end of the story (the morning is coming with the sunrise, and the rose becomes a stone again).

Arabic influence

When composing this music, the particular elements of Arabic music were used.

Sometimes the texture is affected by the Arabic oud playing manners.

There are so called ‘arabesques’ ornamenting the melody.

Finally, the Arabic maqams are represented:

Hijaz (themes of desert, night and loneliness),

Saba (theme of the stone desert rose),

Bayati (theme of moon),

Huzam (themes of the wind and the rose flower).

These maqams are interpreted as elements of Romantic / Neo-Romantic music style.

Performance notes

All the tempo changes are suggested by the composer and can be revised or omitted by the musicians according to their taste and professional level. Since the music has a character of a fantasy / fairy story, it’s tempo rubato can be played in various ways.

View the score sample

Listen to MIDI excerpt on YouTube

 

…the only lily…

The only lily

This lily pond in a botanical garden in Kuala-Lumpur (Malaysia), probably, was not so bright in the season we had visited it: dry and dying plants, lots of duckweed, reflected grey-coated sky and unclean and humid air around… Yet the pond was very attractive. There were few water flowers left, pure beauty, whose pale white heads stayed obscured and almost unnoticed. Since I am an amateur in photography, I could not make any better photo, anyway it is one of my favorite image from our Malaysian collection. As for music, in my current improvisation I tried to follow that rather gloomy atmosphere and an indistinct beauty somewhere there. I chose a mysterious sound of a woodwinds ensemble, chromatic scale and partially parallel and synchronized motion of ’empty’ intervals.

Title …the only lily…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks woodwinds; chromatic scale, fourths / fifths / tritone intervals; expression of gloom and obscured beauty

Duration [3’00]

Date of creating May 15, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini

(Raw score is available on demand. Also you can order a music of similar style from Natalia)

Watch on YouTube

…eventide will come…

Eventide will come

Sunny day on a beach in the Gulf… So noisy, busy and shiny all day long, and suddenly getting quiet by the evening… And before the evening there was an hour or so when you could sense this turning to the slow mood. I was fascinated by those slight changes… Playing this music, I thought of the moment when our thoughts are calming down and we feel that happiness  of the being itself, no matter what is around. For that expression I chose simple major scale and slow change of bases of harmonies (pedal points).

Title …eventide will come…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks piano; major scale, pedal points; expression of calming down and happiness

Duration [2’40]

Date of creating May 8, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini; CC BY-NC license (for non-commercial use)

(Raw score is available on demand. You can order similar style music from Natalia)

Watch on YouTube

Transparent Green

TransparentGreen_image

All about spring…

This music was composed right before my completion the course ‘Survey of Music Technology’ in Coursera (Georgia Tech University) in winter 2016/2017. I was eager to test new opportunities which come with EarSketch sound library and sound processing effects in DAW Reaper. My previously composed choral piece ‘The First Dandelion‘ was used here as stretched ‘back-sound’, and some more ‘spring’ sounds were added from the library.

Title Transparent Green

Genre contemporary electronic

Duration [6’36”]

Date of creating December 2016

Copyright © 2016 Natalia Pispini

Watch on YouTube

Listen on SoundCloud

 

Wind, don’t take me away!

20160315_170538

Composed as an assignment  when taking Coursera course ‘Survey of Music Technology’ (Georgia Tech) (in winter 2016-2017), that was my first attempt to make something not in classical but in popular manner. The style here could be described as a mixture of  ‘funk’ and ‘ambient’… I included ethnic instruments sounds, natural sounds from EarSketch sound library… There are two moments which are personally remarkable for me in this music: 1) I used the live recording I have made in Kuwait, on the stony seashore during a stormy weather. The track is incorporated into the composition in a form of regularly distributed short fragments (so the stormy wind would sound in rhythm). 2) It was written in EarSketch API, with Python code, and that was a real challenge for me since I am not an IT specialist. Although it is not very clear when listening, the initial and the final parts of this music are based on stochastic functions (and that was the point of programming, otherwise you could do the same work, or even better, in DAW).

Listen to the track on SoundCloud

…that is why the white bird is hiding from people…

That is why the white bird is hiding from people

It was difficult to take a photo of this enigmatic white bird sitting quietly among the palm-tree leaves. But eventually we got it! We walked inside of Bahrain, in province, where there are plenty of whispering palm-trees and joyful birds. It was winter, the best season there…

The image had inspired me for new genre: an improvisation on MIDI-keyboard. Each would employ particular timbres, rhythms, melodic patterns etc. Here it is solo flute and Arabic maqam Bayati, interpreted in free, non-traditional way. Great exercise! Also great way to give the second birth to those numerous photos collected during our trips.

Title …that is why the white bird is hiding from people…

Genre improvisation (live playing on MIDI-keyboard)

Tasks flute; non-traditional approach to maqam Bayati; expression of anxious and shy character

Duration [2’06]

Date of creating April 30, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini; CC BY-NC license (for non-commercial use)

(Raw score is available on demand. Also you can order the music of similar style from Natalia)

Watch on YouTube

 

 

Two Salon Pieces, for string quartet

Two Salon Pieces

  1. Expectation. A major. Tempo di Valse
  2. Determination. A minor. Tempo di Mazurka

 Genre pieces for string quartet (2 violins, viola, cello) in character of waltz and mazurka dances

Date of composing October 2014; March 2016 – revised

Style Neo-Romantic

Duration [2’00”], [1’57”]

Level of difficulty beginner to intermediate; intermediate to advanced

Copyright © 2014-2016 Natalia Pispini

Description

Here is my first attempt to compose miniatures for string quartet, with classical approach to musical form and texture, and touches of Neo-Romantic emotionalism on the level of harmony and tonalities. Both pieces display an airy and capricious character; both are connected with the dance meters / rhythmic patterns. Maybe, these things have eventually brought me to the title ‘Salon Pieces’. Both are composed in a simple ternary musical form ABA1. The texture is basically homophonic (melody or ‘thickened’ melody vs. harmonic support) and enriched by flashes of ‘spicy’ chromatic notes. The bowing technique is specified if necessary.

To learn the details please click on the links below

Expectation

Determination