Paj (02/09/2011)

Saman Samadi

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About this composition

“Paj” won first prize for the Counterpoint-Italy International Composition Competition, in 2012, and was given a New York premiere by flutist Linda Wetherill, and pianist Kristin Barone, in December of that same year. The collaboration of the composer with the pianist in this project led them to a marriage of which they have now two children, Përajhars and Clémentine. A recording of this composition was published on digital music platforms on the 24th of July, 2017. Notes from the composer: As a composer who was always fascinated by western classical music and also knowledgeable in traditional Persian music, I became enthusiastic to acquire an alternate method of pitch organization while using Persian modes that would be acclimated, expressive, and innovative in the context of contemporary classical music. Thus, I formed a method of pitch organization based on the microtonal modes of Persian classical music. Paj is one of the first pieces for which I have written using the method. While composing Paj, I thought through my life experiences in order to create a sonic journal. Paj has allowed me to be able to introduce myself to a different light. Believing that the completion of this work would be an important turning point in my career, I felt that it needed a strong title. The definition of “Paj” is as follows: the culminating point, as of achievement or excellence; Acme, Apogee, Perfection, Peak, Supreme. Notes from pianist: At first I was intimidated by the piece. It looked very challenging technically and also had a few markings that I had not seen before. It is a one-movement piece with a few mood changes and different sections. It is a heavy piece that requires a great deal of concentration and energy. The flute uses extended techniques including quarter tones, airy tones, tongue ram, whistle tones, finger taps, as well as multi-phonics. The piano is written in a more traditional style, however, there are contemporary elements including improvisation boxes, extreme dynamic markings, and complex rhythms. In general, the two instruments are conversing with slight overlapping. There are a few solo moments, however, both players are equally active throughout. There were a few technically challenging sections in Paj. Coordinating both hands was most difficult when one hand was playing written out notes while the other improvised. Regarding improvisation boxes: Samadi wrote a group of notes in which the performer was able to use and is limited to specific rhythmic guidelines. The pianist should mimic the flutist’s rhythmic phrases. They need not be exactly the same, but similar. Another challenge was coordination between the instruments. Since the rhythms are extremely complex, one must make approximations. Of course, our goal is to play as accurate as possible. There were also, a few phrases that were technically difficult due to large leaps, fingering issues, as well as fast virtuosic phrases. List of Events: '14. Samadi, Saman. Paj: for flute and piano. Performed by Nicole Camacho, and Kristin Samadi. Stony Brook: SUNY Stony Brook, Staller Center, 08/04/2014. '12. Samadi, Saman. Paj: for flute and piano. Performed by Linda Wetherill, and Kristin Barone (Samadi). New Jersey: RCC Rutherford, 16/12/2012. '12. Samadi, Saman. Paj: for flute and piano. Performed by Linda Wetherill, and Kristin Barone (Samadi). New York: Culturefix, 02/12/2012. '12. Samadi, Saman. Paj: for flute and piano. Performed by Kouchyar Shahroudi, and Domitille Bès. Le Havre: L’ ensemble ECHO, Museum of modern art André Malraux (MuMa), 29/06/2012.
keywordsComposition, Flute and Piano, Microtonality
copyrightSaman Samadi