A Drop of Honey (2018)

clarinet, sitar, violin, viola & cello

10 min.

“Hope. It’s like a drop of honey, a field of tulips blooming in the springtime. It’s a fresh rain, a whispered promise, a cloudless sky…” –Tahereh Mafi

A Drop of Honey was created especially for a subset of the Allegra Chamber Orchestra– one of the only all-female professional orchestras in the world, based in Vancouver, Canada, directed by Janna Sailor. The piece was written for a special concert, “Songs for Scheherazade”, as part of Vancouver’s Indian Summer Festival. A Drop of Honey is loosely based in Raag Charukeshi, a scale used in classical Indian music, with a sharp 3rd degree of the scale, and a flat 6th and 7th. The music develops slowly and gently, through an introduction and a couple of shorter, improvised alap sections in the sitar, building into a steady tempo. Toward the middle of the piece, an ancient pavane melody, “Belle qui tiens ma vie”, by French composer Jehan Tabourot (1520-1595), makes its appearance in the strings and clarinet, before morphing back into the Charukeshi scale. The piece continues to build up to a quick-tempo jhala conclusion.

A Drop of Honey received its premiere by Allegra Chamber Orchestra, with Saina Khaledi (santoor), at the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, on July 15th, 2018.

(Note: the piece was originally composed for sitar, but a santoor was substituted for the premiere performance).

Sheet music is available through the Canadian Music Centre.