Seattle World Premiere of The Wheel,
Inspired by Omar Khayyam’s Rubai's,
for Mandolin Orchestra, Guitars, Strings
2018 / 7PM
The Wheel, featuring music from a new generation of Iranian and American composers, is based on the Rubā‘iyyāt of Omar Khayyam, the 12th-century Persian poet-astronomer.
In the poetry of Khayyam, the wheel is a metaphor that can signify the cycle of life, the astronomical cycles, or the process of creation, often expressed at the action of a potter at his wheel. In choosing The Wheel as the name for this project, I was strongly drawn to this theme in Khayyam’s poetry, particularly the idea of our place in the universe and the transitory nature of life. I imagined a circular movement from one line to the next that creates a relationship between the poem’s structure and the musical composition.
--Naeim Rahmani, Artistic Director
Why Khayyam? I began this project as a Seattle-Isfahan collaboration. As it turns out, Omar Khayyam has connections to Isfahan. In 1074 Khayyam was invited to Isfahan to establish a new astronomical observatory. It has been said that Khayyam played a major role in the creation of the Jalali or Malikī calendar, which was the most significant project of the Isfahan observatory. In addition to creating the calendar, it's not difficult to imagine that Khayyam composed some of his Rubā‘iyyāt during his residency in Isfahan. His connection with Isfahan provided the inspiration for this project.
One Moment in Annihilation's Waste,
One moment, of the Well of Life to taste--
The Stars are setting, and the Caravan
Starts for the dawn of Nothing--Oh, make haste!
Joseph Pollard White
"The Stars Are Setting"
"Of Seven and the Four"
"Potter and Clay"
An old potter at his wheel
Clay and dirt mould and deal
My inner eye would reveal
My father's dust bears his seal.