Brendan Faegre

composer, percussionist

Tanbura Dreams (2011)




333(3+B.Cl)3(3+Cbsn)/4331/Timp, 3 Perc, Hp, Pno/Strings
[Perc 1: Chinese cym, Bongos, 2 Congas, Snare dr, 2 Toms / Perc 2: Med spl cym, Med susp cymb, Tri, Vib / Perc 3: Sandpaper blks, Med wood blk, Log dr, Bass dr, Lrg Tam-tam, 4.3-oct Mar]


CSUN Symphony; John Roscigno, conductor / 7 December 2012 / Plaza del Sol, CSUN, Los Angeles, USA


Northridge Composition Prize 2012


Tanbura Dreams is an orchestral exploration of the musical material I absorbed during four months spent living and studying tabla in Pune, India. All-day (and night!) classical music festivals spent sitting cross-legged on a cement floor; three-day tabla workshops with Sureshji, the true guru of rhythm; the raucous parade of street musicians leading Satyum (my host-family's grandson) home following his coming-of-age ceremony. All of these unforgettable musical experiences influenced this work.

The work traces a 24-hour period -- from dawn one day to dawn the next -- using intervals, scales, and melodic styles as they correlate with times of day in Hindustani Classical music. The approach to rhythm comes from the perspective of a tabla player, and the melodies and harmonies were crafted in faux-raga structures. A central element of the piece is the orchestral synthesis of the sound of a tanbura, the drone instrument in Hindustani classical music.

Like my time in India, Tanbura Dreams is a celebration of life symmetries and synchronisms, of palindromes (9-8-6-8-9 is the primary rhythmic theme), serendipity, deja vu, dreams, and ever-ascending spirals. I hope that through this musical journey you will receive a glimpse of the beauty and infinite depth of Indian classical music, filtered through the ears and mind of a Westerner entranced by this perspective on music.

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