The Intoxicating Rose Garden
dance vocal piece
Composition Date: 2012
Instrumentation: B(dancer), Fl(Rec, Picc), Tpt, Bells, Vc, Hp
THE INTOXICATING ROSE GARDEN
texts: Divan-e-Hafez, translated by Jila Peacock
1. Hoopoe (1)
8. Hoopoe (2)
The poems of the 14th Century Persian poet Hafez have a universal resonance, with their themes of longing for, and separation from, the Beloved.
In 2007 Jila Peacock introduced me to her extraordinary ‘shape poems’ – depictions of birds and animals using the calligraphy of Hafez’ original Farsi text. Jila had also made translations of the poems, which are direct and simple, and ideal for setting to music. We went on to create a number of works with the Hafez poems at their centre, and then realised that the ultimate ‘translation’ of these beautiful texts would be through the human body – as dance. We approached Michael Popper and Red Note with this idea, and The Intoxicating Rose Garden was born.
I made new versions of seven of the songs, tailored to four of Red Note’s musicians, and to Michael’s bass voice. I then gave these to Michael to work on, and he decided at which points to sing and/or to dance. We also invited film-maker Laurie Irvine to create a backdrop to the performance, using calligraphy, and Jila’s artwork, to show parts of the text in the original and in translation.
The music was partly influenced by the entrancing Hafez settings of Iranian setar player Anoosh Jahanshahi, and it is a great privilege to be able to present my settings in the context of his.