Wadi Qadisha | وادي قاديشا (“Holy Valley” in Aramaic) is inspired by the otherworldly beauty of the eponymous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lebanon. The Holy Valley is near the Forest of the Cedars of Lebanon, also known as the Cedars of God. The piece includes extended techniques that I have previously employed, namely in my solo flute piece, Miniatures from Phoenicia.
The texture of Wadi Qadisha | وادي قاديشا is made up of a collection of various composed Lebanese folksongs superimposed on top of each other. The melodies operate at various speeds, creating a temporal counterpoint in addition to the melodic one. The various time-layers represent the longevity and historical depth of the Holy Valley. As such, the music is imprinted with melodic content derived from the land of the Holy Valley.
If we accept that culture is inseparable from its geography, then my piece is made from the matter of the Holy Valley.
Additional information about Wadi Qadisha
- The first printing press in the Middle East was founded in 1585 at the Monastery of Qozhaya in the Qadisha Valley. In 1610, it printed its first book, the Book of Psalms in the Syriac (Aramaic) language.
- Also, this printing press was the first to print in the Arabic language
- The Qadisha Valley’s many natural caves have been used as shelters and for burials back as far as the Palaeolithic period.
- The Qadisha Valley has been a place of refuge for various communities fleeing prosecution throughout history including Jacobite Arameans (Syriac Orthodox), Melkite Catholics, Eastern Arameans, Armenians, Ethiopians, and most notably, Syriac Maronites.
- Wadi Qadisha contains sacred engraved texts from the Jewish and Muslim religions, in addition to Christian ones.
- Wadi Qadisha was the site of several natural mummies
- The Qadisha Valley is the site of some of the most ancient Christian monastic communities of the Middle East. The valley’s natural caves, being comfortless, scattered, and difficult to access, provided monks and hermits sufficiently isolated, inhospitable conditions, which made for good protection from invasions.
Wadi Qadisha was commissioned by Ensemble 126 to be premiered at the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago, Illinois on August 11 2022.