The Winged Horses of Heaven - Moshe Denburg (2001)
In 138 BC, the emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty sent his general Zhang Qian to contact a western tribe to solicit help to fight invaders from the north. After 13 years of arduous journeys, adventures and misadventures, Zhang Qian returned with news of a stronger and faster breed of horse to help in the wars. Thought to be of celestial origin, these now extinct horses were the compelling motivation behind the opening of a permanent route to the west of China and beyond. This work was commissioned by the Orchid Ensemble through the Commissioning of Canadian Compositions program of the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Endless Sands of the Taklimakan - Moshe Denburg (2001)
The Taklimakan is a vast desert in northwestern China that had to be skirted in order for caravans to travel between Kashgar in the west and Chang’an, the ancient capital of China, in the east. This infamous desert, which in Turki means "go in and you will not come out", has been feared and cursed by travelers for more than 2,000 years. The work is meant to be a landscape in sound, moving through several stages and moods: at first quiet and foreboding as the looming desert, and gradual and plodding as a Caravan would surely be. After experiencing the turbulence of a sandstorm all falls silent and distant again, erasing our footprints, leaving only our thoughts to attempt an impress upon eternity. This work was commissioned by the Orchid Ensemble through the Commissioning of Canadian Compositions program of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Road to Kashgar - Moshe Denburg (2001)
This piece is to depict one of the many possible cultural configurations that one may have met within or near Kashgar, the ancient market place and resting point on the Silk Road in northwestern China. As the rhythmic scheme of 7/8 is reminiscent of the music of Persia or India, this particular caravan is likely approaching Kashgar from the West. This piece was commissioned by the Orchid Ensemble with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.
El Adon - Moshe Denburg (2009)
Canada Council for the Arts commission
The theme is based on a mystical hymn, chanted on the Sabbath day: El Adon al Kol Hama-asim (God, Ruler over all Creation). Many mystical and kabbalistic references are found in the text. However, the variations are presented first, and only finally the original theme itself. Therefore, the movements are subtitled as they appear in the hymn, but in reverse order.
III. Hayot Hakodesh (Celestial Beings)
IV. Al Kol Hama-asim (Over all Creation)
El Ginat Egoz (Into the Walnut Garden) - Moshe Denburg
Text: Song of Songs - Chapter VI. v. 11; Chapter VII. v. 12-13.
I went down into the walnut garden to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. Come my beloved let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there I will give you my loves.