Saturday, February 13, 2010

Making Gazelle Rain Petals at MPO 20 Feb 2010

Gazelles are known as swift animals – some are able to maintain speeds as high as 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) for extended periods of time. Gazelles are mostly found in the deserts, grasslands and savannas of Africa, but they are also found in southwest and central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent. They tend to live in herds and will eat less coarse, easily digestible plants and leaves.

Gazelle is derived from the Arabic ghazăl (Arabic: غزال). Arab people traditionally hunted the gazelle. Appreciated for its grace, it is a symbol most commonly associated in Arabic literature with female beauty. One of the traditional themes of Arabic love poetry involves comparing the gazelle with the beloved, and linguists theorize that ghazal, the word for love poetry in Arabic, is related to the word for gazelle. It is related that the Caliph Abd al-Malik (646-705) freed a gazelle he had captured because of her resemblance to his beloved:

O likeness of Layla, never fear!
For I am your friend, today, O wild deer!
Then I say, after freeing her from her fetters:
You are free for the sake of Layla, for ever!

Currently, the genus Gazella is widely considered to contain about 13 species.Our further species are extinct – the Red Gazelle, the Arabian Gazelle, the Queen of Sheba's Gazelle and the Saudi Gazelle. Most surviving gazelle species are considered threatened to varying degrees. Fossils of genus Gazella are found in Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of Eurasia and Africa. Gazelles disappeared from Europe at the start of Ice Age, but they survived in Africa and Middle East. Four species became extinct in recent times due to human causes.

SIX local composers will showcase their original compositions for a chamber ensemble in a special hour-long concert to be held at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in KLCC on 20 February 2010.

These talented composers are Tzu-En Ngiao, Wong Chee Yean, Zihua Tan, Wong Chee Wei, Isaac Chia and Isabella Pek.

MPO Forumplus, an offshoot of the extremely successful and long-running MPO Forum for Malaysian Composers. MPO Forumplus follows on from six years of the MPO Forum activity that has, to date, produced 30 new orchestral works from 12 Malaysian composers.

This non-competitive evolution of the Forum is a unique platform for established and emerging composers to refine their craft, establish new practices, make new contacts and work with the country’s best musicians.

It is hoped that in so doing, they get to create new works that will further enhance Malaysia’s burgeoning art scene.

Running for two years, each composer is assigned to an individual MPO musician who acts as a mentor and advisor.

Each candidate will present a chamber work in this concert before composing for a larger orchestration of some 100 musicians under Stage 2 of the MPO Forumplus, slated for February 20.

Field, who will also be the conductor for the concert, said that Forumplus is a wonderful platform for emerging local talents to engage in knowledge transfer and the exchange of ideas.

“Opportunities like these are rare. Not only do they get to write for a professional orchestra, they will also work closely with MPO musicians for nine months, and have their compositions played at the DFP. It’s a real luxury and this does not really happen anywhere else in the world.”

When asked on the compositions that the six will be presenting for the concert, Brophy, who was also on the panel of the previous MPO Forums, said he had found new things in all the pieces.

“There may be ideas that we have not heard before, especially for me since I’ve listened to many kinds of music scores and compositions. While there is a plethora of influences in their works, which is normal, the style is still Malaysian.”

Rehearsals for the big day started last Tuesday and everyone received the same amount of rehearsal time, regardless of how complex their compositions might be.

While there will be recording for archival purposes, there are also plans to compile the compositions in an album if the demand is there.

For ticket bookings, call DFP BoxOffice at 03-2051-7007.

The six composers include:

Tzu-En Ngiao, 32, from Penang. Ngiao completed his Master’s degree in electronic engineering at Britain’s Hull University, and worked for five years in the semi-conductor design industry. He is pursuing graduate studies in music composition under Johan Othman and, linking it with his engineering background, has developed a composition technique in which ideas are constructed and organised in a mathematically precise manner but imbued with poetic vision and expression. His recent works include Inconsequentials for piano and The Quiet Affinities of Undissolved Lights for flute, piano and woodblock.

(MPO date for six By HIZREEN KAMAL NST 2009/06/12)