Meet the Composer: Introduction to Ramin's Works
A Shimmering Light
for Reed Quintet and Narration
Music and Story by Ramin Amin Tafreshi
A Shimmering Light is a work that was originally commissioned by the Schiermonnikoog Festival. It was written for Reed Quintet and Narrator and premiered by Dianto Reed Quintet with the recorded narrations by Zachary West.
The story is inspired by the Schiermonnikoog island, with hints of Persian and European mythical stories. Although the work contains imaginary elements, many of them are based on actual places and elements found on Schiermonnikoog Island.
Vuurtoren in de branding, Hendrik Willem Mesdag, ca. 1900 - ca. 1907
A Shimmering Light is the story of a man who lives on a remote island. His monologues reveal his thoughts and observations, which drive him into an unexpected situation.
While writing my story, I drew inspiration from various sources, especially the history of the island and its famous northern lighthouse. To fuel my creativity, I studied historic maps, paintings, and mythical stories. However, I also wanted to create a story that has a deeper personal meaning for me. So, I incorporated elements from Persian mythology and literature and included a quote from one of my beloved poets, Sohrab Sepehri.
beyond the seas, there is a city where the sun is as radiant as the eyes of the early morning risers.
Sohrab Sepehri, Beyond Seas: Hajm - e - sabz
As a result of my exploration, I stumbled upon the Rijks Museum Studio platform, where I discovered a treasure trove of priceless historic paintings that left me truly inspired.
Once I finished writing the story, I began composing the music. The original piece was intended for a Reed Quintet which comprised of oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, and bassoon. However, for other performances, I created new arrangements for different ensembles like saxophone quintet (clarinet, saxophone quartet or five saxophones).
The story will be narrated in a recorded voiceover format that will be played alongside the live performance. Throughout the composition process, I worked together with artist Zachary West to edit the text and record the voiceover. It was a fascinating process to work with Zachary to find the tone and the expressions of the character in combination with the intensity and the aesthetic of the music.
Later on, sound engineer Frerik de Jong provided us with valuable assistance during the recording session.
Due to the complexity of the music, a conductor is necessary to direct the performance while someone plays the narration under the conductor's guidance. During the premiere at the Schiermonnikoog Festival and the other performance at the Composers' Festival, I conducted the piece myself.
Here is the performance of the Saxophone Quintet version of the piece at the Composers' Festival:
The premiere at the Schiermonnikoog Festival was painted masterfully by Dutch painter and Visual artist, Rafael Martig.
The painting was a big surprise after the premiere.
The piece was premiered on October 1st by the Dianto Reed Quintet and myself as the opening concert of the Schiermonnikoog Festival.
Intro for the Composers' Festival
At the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, my friend and a distinguished composer, Primo Ish-Hurwitz, and I had the chance to curate a program of our own music pieces for the Composers' Festival. With this program, we wanted to create a world of fantasy, myths, and mystery and make an immersive experience for our audience using music, light and specialization performances.
Our concert started with my soundscape electronics, which were connected to my composition "A Shimmering Light" to create a captivating and kaleidoscopic concert experience. The purpose was to instantly immerse the audience in a unique atmosphere from the moment they entered the hall. The soundscape played until everyone was completely seated.
The sound materials used in this soundscape were sourced from various recordings. The most distinctive audio was a recording of Sea Shanties from the south of Iran. In one of my previous projects at the Grachten Festival, I studied a series of sea shanties from Iran, including the one used for this work. Additionally, at the end of the soundscape, there was a small text narrated by Zachary West that was recorded specifically for the program.