30-second excerpt of the reading by the Seattle Symphony:

Ladakhi Call was influenced by my trip with my family to Ladakh, a region in the northernmost part of India, in the summer of 2015. My family and I spent 35 days trekking there through the region of the Himalaya encompassed by Ladakh. This region has a unique intersection of two major Asian religions and their cultures: Buddhism and Islam. Since Ladakh is on the northernmost border of India and thus close to Tibet, there is a strong Tibetan Buddhist culture throughout the region that exists together with the Muslim religion that pervades much of Pakistan and northern India.

            The piece uses a few musical symbols that are loosely based on some of the things that had an impression on me during my time in Ladakh. One is the mosque call in Leh, the capital of Ladakh. It is a very rhythmically free melody that was sung to call people to prayer at the mosque in the very early morning and evening. A second idea is loosely inspired by music from a Buddhist festival which I attended at a monastery in the Indus River valley. This music features jagged trilling figures from oboe-like instruments (known as Gyaling), very low long notes from Tibetan horns, and a multilayered accelerando: A faster, accelerating figure on special Tibetan cymbals known as Rolmo which leads to a strike of the Lag-na, a low drum. The drum strikes occur more and more frequently, so the whole pattern of accelerating cymbals to drum strike itself slowly accelerates, leading to the two-layered accelerando.

            The other important musical character in the piece is a much less literal one: the mountains themselves, and their complexity and grandeur. This is represented by a rising chromatic chorale, usually in low instruments, which constantly pushes itself higher, giving a feeling of immense weight and breadth. This chordal skeleton is often decorated by repeated notes or small melodic lines, which is a reference to one of the most unique Ladakhi rock formations in the mountains: very large boulders and cliff faces with hundreds of tiny small rocks embedded in the side of them, such that from far away it looks like a smooth cliff face, but as one approaches closer you can see thousands of these tiny rocks. The chordal skeleton is like the large rocks viewed from a distance, but it is ‘decorated’ by more rhythmic and melodic ornamentation (the smaller rocks) as the piece progresses.

Specific instrumentation is in the second page of the score.

For additional information, questions, or parts requests, contact Aidan.