Encounters II and III for Oud and Piano
Concertino for Oud, Piano and String Orchestra | Nonet
Solo Oud, Solo Piano and String Orchestra
Solo Oud, Solo Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass
Original version as Concertino for Oud and Piano:
Taiseer Elias - oud, Menachem Wiesenberg - piano | Israel Camerata Jerusalem | Conductor: Avner Biron (2021)
Encounters III was written in 1994, after a commission from the Lille Festival in France, for the Israel Camerata Jerusalem orchestra. It draws its material from an earlier work, Encounters I for Piano and Oud, first performed in Paris in 1992. These were times of optimism and hopes for peace in the middle East, and I was inspired by my encounters with the Oud virtuoso and wonderful musician, Taiseer Elias. This new work expands on the original ensemble and treats the piano and oud as two soloists with concerto-style accompaniment.
The work starts with an introduction in the spirit of a Taqsim – the typical improvised opening so often found in Arabic music. From this opening dialogue between the oud and piano emerges the first section, in which the accompanying ensemble makes its entrance. All its melodic gestures have an ornamental character full of melismatic lines so dear to Middle Eastern music. The mosaic-like structure of this first section gains momentum and leads the second section, written in a more cantabile style, somewhat like the Samai, an Arabic musical form with a specific 10/8 meter. The third section, played uninterruptedly following the second one, consist of an improvised piano and then oud cadenzas, both accompanied by the ensemble, as well as an impromptu dialogue between the two solo instruments. The piece ends with short, brilliant passages, played in unison, in homage to Arabic music.
Originally conceived and composed as a Concertino for Oud, Piano and a String Orchestra, Encounters III was later re-orchestrated, at the commission of the Kfar Blum Festival in 1995, for a chamber ensemble, consisting (in addition to the two solo parts, which remained unchanged) oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass.