Music of the Oud overview: Baroque twists of Arabic scales

by Marie Rodriguez

Joseph Tawadros gave an equally jokey and insightful musicological lesson whilst he and his percussionist brother, James, rejoined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra after the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony in G minor (K183). After his oud and James’s req (small tambourine) duetted on a short excerpt, Tawadros determined that, with the harmonies removed, the melodic and rhythmic cloth became now not so very exclusive to Arabic tune.

Tawadros astutely chose the Mozart to complete a software otherwise which include his very own compositions, highlighting the differences and overlaps among the harmony-wealthy western classical subculture (this being a piece wherein the 17-yr-antique Mozart extensively used unison passages), and the linear (melody and rhythm) method that finds such potent expression in Indian and Arabic tune.

The centerpiece changed into Tawadros’s 2017 Concerto for Oud and Orchestra (the SSO below the active path of Benjamin Northey), wherein orchestrator Jessica Wells allowed Tawadros’s present for placing melodies to glisten, frequently fattening the sinuous strains with unisons instead of weighting them with Concord. A work of high drama and contrast – it became, in phrases of each composition and execution, a massive step forward on Tawadros’s in advance tries at orchestral settings for oud. This is an instrument of lace-like delicacy, so the work, like pre-forte keyboard concertos, had to offer enough solo area, even though the oud and req (which could arguably percentage the concerto’s name) had been expertly amplified.

Amid Tawadros’s discernible impacts is a reverence for Vivaldi, but the work is not any mere baroque throwback. Its gripping orchestral creation beckoned Tawadros’s darkish commencing announcement on the bottom string of his prolonged-variety seven-route oud. Later the rampant emotional color of zone-tones in his improvising recommended the orchestration ought to have greater fully explored the string segment’s capability to generate sector-tones, itself. A stark oboe melody hooked up the gradual movement, the oud’s topic sooner or later echoed via the strings, whilst the final motion contained a startling cadenza of diverging and converging patterns among the oud’s bass and treble strings, before granite-like blocks of orchestral punctuation signaled an exciting finale.

Among the shorter portions Point of Departure (arranged via Tawadros and Richard Tognetti) had luxuriant strings framing the live performance’s most shifting improvisation, the oud’s notes dripping like tears into a wishing well. Less successful became the solo Constellation, a minor Tawadros composition missing a little finesse in its performance.

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