Nathalie wrote this piece for me in 2019 and I premiered it at the Bravo Vail! Festival that summer. I also played it in Chicago at Gallagher Way a month or so later, and then I programmed it for my free concert series Music in the Stacks, presented by the East Lansing Public Library, which went online due to COVID-19.
Watch Over Us is inspired by “Two Gods”, a documentary film by Zeshawn Ali, that tells the story of Hanif, a casket maker and body washer of the Islamic tradition, and his mentorship of two young men, Furquan and Naz. The violin material explores the physical characteristics of water: its ability to be flowing, rhythmic, overwhelmingly and suddenly powerful, and still, all at once. The melodic material also examines the symbolic aspects of water as an emotional healing, cleansing or soothing agent, as well as an indication of rebirth and life. An athan (Islamic call to worship) from the film is sampled as the basis of the accompanying electronic track, and appears paired with synthesizers and processed vocal articulations. The track is intended to be distinctly fixed, yet yearns for the fluidity of the acoustic violin. The work closes with the violin taking on some of that duality – a metaphorical blurring of lines between the hard and soft edges of life.
You can purchase the music soon on her website: www.flutronix.com