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Enchanted Garden




Enchanted Garden for Piano Quintet

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, and piano
Duration: 17 minutes
Commissionby Saratoga Chamber Music Festival
Premiere: August 14, 2005, Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, Saratoga Springs, New York 
Score and Parts: Presser Rentals and Purchase
Score online: Available for Perusal Only at ISSUU.COM  


I. Rapture
II. Peace from Despair

III. Fragrance of Joy


Program notes:

Enchanted Garden for Piano Quintet was inspired by Persian gardens, in particular the Garden of Eram which is located in the city of Shiraz, Iran.  The concept of Persian gardens, as a reflection of paradise on earth, was by and large developed in this region over several thousand years.  Not surprisingly, the renowned and historic Garden of Eram has been a source of inspiration for generations of artists and poets due to its beauty and mystical significance. I composed the Enchanted Garden on a commission by the Saratoga Springs Chamber Music Festival during my composer residency with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the summer of 2005 in Saratoga Springs, NY. 

The first movement, “Rapture,” is defined by the exuberant nature of the opening section.  It has one principal theme (a descending melodic line first heard by the cello) that is passed from one instrument to another, as it varies both rhythmically and melodically.  The continuous transformation of this theme takes the movement from expressive, at times seductive passages, to wild and violent climaxes, before eventually bringing the movement to a soft and unresolved ending.

The second movement, “Peace from Despair,” is one long and intimate conversation between five poets (the five different instruments).  At times, these poets can reveal their most private and expressive thoughts, and at a moment’s notice, shock their audience with the most chilling of revelations!  This movement has one principal theme that, as in the first movement, is introduced by the cello.  It ends with a sense of clarity and hope.

The final movement, “Fragrance of Joy,” is a complete turnaround from the previous one, as it is festive and dance-like. It was inspired in part by the memory of my first attendance of a traditional Persian wedding in Tehran, when I was only a few years old.  The ability of those wedding musicians to arouse such excitement from their audience, had me mesmerized. Although I have no recollection of the actual music, I attempted to capture the energy that had captivated me for years. 

The main theme (first heard by the piano) is the melodic and harmonic basis of the final movement.  As the movement progresses, themes from the earlier movements are revisited and the piece concludes with an uplifting finale.

- Behzad Ranjbaran







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