Ha-Me’aggel for Orchestra

        I recently completed a new composition, Ha-Me’aggel (one who draws circles) for Orchestra (Video Low / High) was premièred June 9th, 2007 by the SFCCO. This the biggest of my jazz and classical music to date. Originally this piece written for my quintet (woodwinds, trombone, cello, koto and percussion), the Cooke Quintet. The group recorded Ha-Me’aggel on An Indefinite Suspension of The Possible just 2 days after the première of “Music for Humans“. The CD was released on my label Black Hat Records. It has four sections, which in the original version could be played in any order, a form known as circle music. I felt that this piece would adapt well as a Concerto for Saxophone or Orchestra, though I had to make the form less flexible for an orchestra. There is some freedom to allow different instruments be featured but in the first performance alto sax (Michael Cooke), clarinet (Jonathan Russell), piano (Alexis Alrich) and timpani (Victor Flaviani) are featured instruments. These featured instruments have improvisational solo sections. The melodies in the piece were written using a Klezmer scale, which made me think of the story of Onias (Honi) Ha-Me’aggel, a first century Jewish scholar who drew a circle and placed himself in the center of it, praying for rain and whose prayers were mysteriously and immediately answered. My prayers where also answered, as this piece was made possible by a Creative Connections Award from Meet The Composer.

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