The Brown Texts
Ode to a Poet
For Violin (or Improvisor) and Symphony Orchestra
About the work
Composed between New York, Beirut and Damascus over 2017 and 2018, with revisions in
late 2018, this piece was conceived in memory of the late poet Nadia Tueni.
Tueni chose to create a new poetic language that captured the fragile essence of her troubled
country and exposed the many crises of identities present in the war. By identifying with her
country, she placed herself beyond all parties and created a sacred river that irrigates her
poems. Her writings are haunted by the Lebanese war: some transcend famous Lebanese
locales as the symbolic incarnations of the land's eternal essence; others, illuminated at first
by nostalgic memories, take on a prophetic tone. Tueni's work merges the poetic with the
political landscape of her country, inviting to reflect on the mimesis of identity: identity of a
country, identity of a woman, each echoing the other.
I - Ecumes & Cadenza
II - Elégie : Clair de Nuit
III - Triskèle
IV-Une même lumière, une même ombre
V - Postlude : les yeux noirs
The Brown Texts can be for violin, or an improvising instrument. Essentially, the soloist part can be read as such, but is also open to re-interpretation, ornamentation, and there is a cadenza, that can be either improvised, or interpreted (the cadenza Chaker wrote is also included in the score, right after the first movement).
Date of composition:
It was performed in Abu Dhabi with Bayreuther Philharmoniker in February 2018.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Lebanese violinist and composer Layale Chaker's musical world lies at the intersection of classical contemporary music, Jazz, Arabic Music, and improvisation. Her music, described as "entrancing", "innovative and vibrant", "pure poetry", and "gorgeous", defies genre while feeling perfectly at home in jazz, world, and classical festivals and series in major venues worldwide. As a violinist and composer, she has received commissions and presented performances and projects around Europe, the Middle-East, North and South America and Asia, as a soloist and with her ensemble Sarafand.
Layale released the album Inner Rhyme on In a Circle Records in 2019 with Sarafand. Dedicated to the sounds, rhythms, rhymes, shapes and forms of Arabic poetry, Inner Rhyme has been lauded by Songlines, NPR, the BBC Music Magazine, The New York Times, The Strad, Strings Magazine, and Jazz World, among others.