As well as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, the program featured the world premiere of Danza Arabica by Sydney musician, Kim d’Espiney. Kim has played oboe with the orchestra for several years. She also plays saxophone and clarinet and teaches all three instruments. This is her first composition for orchestra although she has written many arrangements for her students.
Kim says that the main reason she decided to compose Danza Arabica is because she wanted to celebrate Arabic culture.
“Like many people, I abhor the carnage and slaughter that is happening right now, from Iraq and Syria to Palestine, and I feel a tremendous sense of helplessness for all the innocent people caught in the cross-fire. An example that springs to mind is the current global tragedy: where thousands of refugees are being turned away by the rest of the world, as they flee war-torn countries to seek asylum.”
Kim comes from a Portuguese background and she feels that this may well have influenced her musical style:
“The most famous Portuguese folk music is the ‘Fado’ (meaning ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’). It has sorrowful melodies and lyrics with a rich Arabic/Moorish influence. The songs often tell stories about life of the poor or the harshness of the sea, with feelings of passion and intense longing. Having listened to a lot of Fado, I’ve no doubt this has had at least a subconscious influence on my composition.
“The inspiration for this piece was both melodic and rhythmic. The main theme grew from trying out different ideas on my clarinet – I like the smooth, mellow sound of the low register, and thought it might also work well on the bassoon. The rhythmic ideas were influenced by my love of Arabic music, with its vibrant rhythms and interesting textural effects. Once I had the basics, the rest flowed naturally.”
Kim was thrilled to have the opportunity to have her music performed by a symphony orchestra.
“It is an incredible experience: hearing the notes I have written coming to life through the efforts and skills of the players in the orchestra. It is also exciting to think that others may interpret my music in their own way.”
When asked if there were any more pieces in the pipeline, Kim’s response was
“Absolutely… watch this space!”