Yaldā (2015)

Yaldā (2015) – a winter anthem for SATB and trumpet (4′)
This festive winter anthem for chorus and trumpet is an exploration of the Persian holiday Shab-e Yaldā which celebrates the winter solstice and is often referred to as the “longest night.” During this festival, families gather together to eat food (especially red fruits like watermelon and pomegranate, symbolizing dawn/flame/rebirth/new life/etc.), drink, make long burning fires (or light candles), and read Hafez late into the night.

My setting of this wonderful poem by Patricia Little (which fittingly and beautifully takes the form of an interlocking rubáiyát, a Persian poetic form popularized by Omar Khayyám) aims to capture the excitement and general jovial atmosphere of the so-called “longest night,” and embrace the mysticism behind the holiday. Throughout the work, there are a plethora of subtle tempo changes that occur. I find these changes mimic the erratic nature of a burgeoning fire, embers tossing and tongues erupting, unable to be pinned down into one, constant state. The trumpet too participates in this excitement, personifying the various mystic entities associated with the Festival of Yaldā.

After the presentation of the first two stanzas and various shades of word painting, the trumpeter has a short solo which brings us to the third stanza and a time for reflection, followed by a triumphant conclusion and a contemplative vision of the coming year. Appropriate for advanced high school and collegiate ensembles.

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