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Caprice en forme d'arabesques (Caprice in the Form of Arabesques) for piano solo

By Joseph Dillon Ford

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Piano Solo - Advanced Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Joseph Dillon Ford. 21st Century, Impressionistic, Neo-Classical, World, African. Score. 15 pages. Published by David Warin Solomons (S0.436189).

Item Number: S0.436189

A rare and enchanting collection of contemporary keyboard music from North Africa.
The Caprice en forme d'arabesques ("Caprice in the Form of Arabesques") was composed in Morocco while Dillon Ford was on the faculty of the American School of Tangier (1982-83). This six-movement suite tells no specific story. Each movement, rather, represents some impression of a particular person, place, or thing encountered either in everyday reality or in the realm of imagination.

The movements are:

1 "Caravane" [2/4, A, M+]
The first movement, "Caravan," depicts a colorful trek across the Sahara (Ford actually ventured only as far south as Ouarzazate, at the edge of the great desert), as symbolized by the camel in this specially commissioned drawing by Moroccan artist, Hamri.

2 "La main de Fatima" ("The Hand of Fatima") [various meters, A, M+]
The Hand of Fatima (daughter of the Prophet Muhammad) evokes the mysterious properties of a charm, often taking the form of brass objects and jewelry, that is considered to be powerful protection against the evil eye. In Ford's musical interpretation, shimmering melodic figures in the instrument's upper register are pitted against dark and sinister forces below, which ultimately submit to Fatima's benign influence.

3 "Le petit bossu" ("The Little Hunchback") [2/4, A, E+]
The The Little Hunchback comes from The Thousand and One Nights, which Ford read in Antoine Galland's French translation during his stay in Tangier. His tale is recalled by recourse to some decidedly mischievous invertible counterpoint.

4 "Odalisques" [6/8, A, E+]
The title Odalisques was originally suggested by the memory of an Ingres painting in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. Such images have come under attack in recent years by postcolonial theorists, who regard them as objectionably "orientalist" misrepresentations of the Muslim world. This little movement, however, was written on Moroccan Independence Day with the political equality of women very much in mind. Indeed, the issue of independence is symbolically elaborated through the use of a conspicuously polyphonic texture in which each voice preserves its distinct individuality while complementing the other.

5 "Méditation matinale" ("Morning Meditation") [4/4, A, E+]
The Morning Meditation is a mystically rhapsodic work in which melodic arabesques rise and fall like delicately carved arches supported on the slender piers of a repeating drone bass.

6 "Chauves-souris dessechées"("Dried Bats") [various meters, A, D+]
Dried bats are an essential ingredient for special, some would even say magical formulas, and could be obtained at the always lively Djemaa el Fna in Marrakesh. This intensely ecstatic piece demands a light staccato touch and great speed and dexterity for its peculiar brand of sorcery to succeed.

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