David Warin Solomons’ Music Catalogue

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The evolution of a Rose

From a bell ringer’s aunt, to a Kurdish prisoner in Turkey

to a poem - to a song - to an instrumental fantasia


I first heard of this poem through our local bell ringer, Peter Lomax, who wrote, in 1998:

“I have an auntie who became interested in the plight of Kurdish prisoners through a Quaker friend. She joined the Befrienders and was given the name of a young man with whom to correspond.

Auntie Theo, in common with most of us, knew no Turkish so she wrote to her new friend in English, and when he replied she had to send the letter to the Society of Friends for translation.

My Auntie Theo is an impatient lady and became frustrated by the long delays so she decided to learn Turkish. She bought a dictionary and made time each day to study the language. It wasn't long before she was able to understand fragments of the letter.

Auntie Theo cares very deeply for these young men who are in prison simply because they are Kurds (not a fashionable race to belong to in modern Turkey). They are not murderers or terrorists, they were teenagers when they last tasted freedom.

Iskan writes poetry and sent a poem to Auntie Theo, which she struggled to translate. I thought it was beautiful and mentioned it to David Solomons (countertenor in our choir and music composer). David took the poem to a Turkish speaking friend to check the translation, then scored it.

Finally he recorded it and very good it is. Auntie Theo sent a copy of the score to Iskan and he has not yet replied; he has probably not received it. On the other hand, Iskan might be dead; quite a possibility, but Auntie Theo will continue to write to him until she knows and is certain.”

*******

Rose (based on the Turkish original)

There is a rose in my garden

A crimson rose opening in my heart

 Rosy cheeks blossoming like a young pomegranate plant

 which loves the earth like spring

like a rising sun in the sky

 both weep both love from within

like a rising a rising moon in the night

 like summer rain watering my rose garden

as if it were a life.

It is you in my dreams at night

every moment I see you in my mind..

You are running through my soul

like blood runs through my veins with joy!

**************************
















Auntie Theo has since died and Iskan has disappeared: possibly released from prison and living in Germany, or possibly not - we do not know.

(This information is also posted on the akakurdistan page along with one of the many recordings, so maybe we will find out eventually. )

I therefore set this  English version of the poem in various versions, starting with alto and guitar (in A minor)

I then  and proceeded through versions with piano accompaniment and eventually string accompaniment.   

The CD “Songs of Solomons” includes a beautiful rendition of the alto and piano version performed in 2001 by Stephen Taylor and Jonathan Leonard. Mark Crayton (alto) and James Janssen (piano) also performed it beautifully in 2007 - see video.  An excellent performance of the bass and piano version was given by Mark Rawlinson and Peter Lawson in 2002. (see below for mp3)

Transpositions  of these versions were also made for tenor voice (in E minor and D minor) at the suggestion of David Barclay who has performed them on several occasions.

********

With Guitar:

Original version (alto and guitar) performed by the composer - mp3

Original version (alto and guitar) performed by the composer - video

Score of tenor (or soprano) version, with guitar - pdf

Score of alto (or baritone) version, with guitar - pdf










********

With piano:

Bass and piano version performed by Mark Rowlinson and Peter Lawson - mp3

Tenor and piano version performed by David Barclay and Martin Godden - mp3

Alto and piano version performed by Stephen Taylor and Jonathan Leonard on the CD “Songs of Solomons” - mp3

Alto and piano version performed by Mark Crayton and James Janssen - video

Alto version performed by the composer with David Lawson on piano - video

Score of tenor (or soprano) version with piano - pdf

Score of alto (or baritone) version with piano - pdf











***********

With strings:

Performance at the Music for a while concert in Manchester 2000 - tenor solo: David Barclay with Vada strings - mp3

Score of tenor (or soprano) and strings version - pdf

Score of alto (or baritone) and strings version - pdf


************

The saxophone and bass clarinet versions





Rose Fantasia

Then the tune which this poem had created in my mind took flight and became a fully formed fantasia for saxophone and strings, following a request from the bass-saxophonist Andreas van Zoelen.   

The tune is now extended into a whole new level.

The Rose Fantasia was first performed in Holland in 2002 and, in the same year,  was published by Musik Fabrik in versions for string accompaniment and piano accompaniment and for various sizes of saxophone and also bass clarinet.

Andreas’ performance was brilliant, but for technical reasons I have not been able to put that recording online.  

However, a baritone saxophone player, John Ketterer of New Jersey College did an excellent and very moving performance of the higher setting of Rose Fantasia  with his fellow music students in March 2010, which can be heard here     (mp3).


The scores and parts of the Rose Fantasia can be purchased (or hired) direct from  Musik Fabrik and can also be obtained from  d’Arezzo, SheetMusicPlus and other online music stores:

...specifically:

Baritone or alto sax with string quartet


Baritone  sax with piano


Bass sax or bass clarinet with string quartet


Bass sax with piano



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