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Dome of a mosque, Isfahan


Instrumentation: Clarinet, Harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, and Bass
Duration: 13 minutes
Commission: by the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble
Premiere: by the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble on March 10,2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Score and Parts: Presser Rentals and Purchase

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Program notes:

Isfahan, the capital of Iran (Persia) in the 16thcentury, is famous for its lavish palaces, highly ornamental and colorful mosques, enchanting gardens, accomplished artisans and lush silk carpets.  In writing Isfahan, I was inspired by her elegance and beauty while I was also mindful of her dark and tragic history in the Middle Ages.

 In 2003, (my last trip to Isfahan,) following a long walk in the 800-year old bazaar, I sat down in a fragrant rose garden wondering when I could respond musically to this overwhelming experience.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long!   In 2005, Philadelphia Orchestra members, Margarita and Donald Montanaro, invited me to write a new work in celebration of their Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble's 30th season. Once the Montanaros told me about their wonderful time in Isfahan in early 1970’s, I knew that the time had come for me to compose this new piece.

“Isfahan” is composed in one continuous movement.  The primary theme is heard in its simplest form at the beginning of the piece by the harp, followed by a more florid and ornamental rendition played by the clarinet.  Throughout the piece, the main theme develops, varies, and transforms continuously.  After much development, the piece returns to its core, ending with an expressive duet for the clarinet and the harp.

The score of Isfahan is dedicated to Margarita and Donald Montanaro. 





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