Windows on the World: Bushra El-Turk – Lebanon

I have attempted to transcribe the improvisatory and paraphrase the mawwal of Sabah Fakhry in ‘Kulli mali hati’. A mawwal is a passage of singerly invention, which traditionally and formally in Arabic music precedes the muwasshah, the ancient Andalusian (c8th-century) song form. In Tmesis, I playfully re-apply the character and textures of a mawwal, gradually changing into a grotesque version of itself.

The title may be an unfamiliar word but the concept it describes is familiar: the interruption of one word or phrase by another, before the original one resumes. Here it suggests something about the overall shape of the piece, in which an opening passage of high-register, ornamented melody, which gradually spreads through the whole orchestra is cut into by juddering low textures, before the music regains some of its former height. In other respects, though, once ushered in, the interrupting material’s ‘aggressive edginess’ derives in part from the elaborate instrumental manner of the opening section.