14 March, 2016

Set Your Life On Fire

My piece for Orchestra – Set Your Life On Fire – was performed by the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh on 2nd March 2016.

Set Your Life On Fire takes its title from a poem by the Iranian mystic poet Mowlana/Rumi. The full quote reads:

Set your life on fire, seek those who fan your flames.

Set Your Life On Fire makes use of ideas drawn from Iranian classical music in the context of a Western classical symphonic work. Specifically, this piece creates an environment of constantly changing meters and complex rhythms in 3s, 5s and 7s to reflect the improvisation performed by Iranian musicians in the rubato, meterless Avaz section. Moreover, all material for the piece is drawn from a melodic line that reappears several times but never in exactly the same guise. Instead it is embellished, expanded, contracted and inverted in much the same way as short melodic phrases form the basis of complex, improvised lines in Iranian performance.