Djinn (2009) is a concerto for marimba and a chamber orchestra made up of strings, harp, and percussion. It was written for, and inspired by, Pedro Carneiro. The funding for the commission was provided by Creative New Zealand. The premiere consisted of three performances in New Zealand with Marc Taddei conducting all three. The performances were with Orchestra Wellington - who drove the commission and the project - the Auckland Philharmonia, and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
The exact instrumentation is;
- Solo Marimba
- Flute (optional)
- 3 Percussion
Percussion 1: Finger cymbal, Triangle, Daff (no bangles), Waterphone, Spring drum, Very small concert tom, Splash cymbal, Suspended cymbal (medium-large)
Percussion 2: Djembe, Crotales, Finger cymbal, Suspended cymbal (medium-large), Bass drum, Metal wind chimes, Glockenspiel, Whip, Splash cymbal
Percussion 3: Finger cymbal, Suspended cymbal (medium-large), Bass drum, Metal wind chimes, Glockenspiel, Triangle, Mark tree, 4 Japanese singing bowls (ascending C#/Db, D#/Eb, E#/F, G#/Ab), Splash cymbal, Tubular bells, very large Tam-tam
The music itself is inspired by the concept of the Djinn (genie). Described in many different ways in many cultures as. Some examples;
• a supernatural creature able to appear in human form and to possess humans.
• a guardian spirit assigned to each person at their birth
• the djinn are made of fire, man is made of clay, angels created of light.
There are three movements in this work;
Each god helped create her by giving her seductive gifts. Pandora opened a jar releasing all the evils of mankind leaving only Hope inside.
“The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the floor of Zeus’ palace there stand two urns, the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Zeus the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Zeus sends none but evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men.”
– Homer, Iliad
Labyrinths are symbols that speak to deep levels of consciousness. The trip into the center and out again mirrors our lives and our personal journeys. The first few steps might be hesitant. With each successive turn that takes us closer to, then farther from the center, we examine our choices until the last turn takes us into the still, motionless center. The center of a labyrinth is the center of the Mystery. For some, it can be the largest, deepest, most profound Mystery, others find only their own shadow, or emptiness. In
a labyrinth, the way out is the way in. There’s no wrong turn, or wrong choice. It is surrendering to the journey itself. We emerge from the last turn blinking, astonished. Much of the marimba writing in this movement was inspired by the oud/outi and setar playing of Vasili Papanikolaou, Dariush Tala’I, Xaik Yiazitzian
– Antonis Aperghis, Rahim Alhaj
III. Out-Dreaming the Genie
Echoes of the warm safe danger conjured forth by the music of childhood TV shows, in which we may have been in the land of the giants, lost in space, or on a magic carpet with an inscrutable genie, but we knew always that
Stories and images that convinced youthful us we would turn our crawling into walking, then into running, and finally that we would lift up from the earth and fly free.
Score and Links
Score (Percussion Ensemble Version): http://www.prometheaneditions.com/php/WorkDetail.php?WorkID=576&Composer=John%20Psathas&ComposerID=10
Recording: Soon to be available on Naxos
Djinn Official Playlist - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT82jlaF9ZI&list=PLLe6QIpB-jM8KpZX61I8-60E863N0rbBj