Reflections on Sephardic Melodies by David Loeb
For Solo Piccolo
These pieces derive from melodies of the Sephardic tradition, on oral tradition remarkably well preserved depsite dispersion and fragmentation of the Spanish Jewish community more than five centuries ago. The melodies display a remarkably hybrid aspect, with elements of Jewish, Islamic, Central European and indigenous Spanish musicl traditions present in varying extents, always blended with consummate skill and taste. Some melodies seem Medieval, with comparatively statis harmonic implications, while the more chromatic and harmonic implications, while the more chromatic and harmonically active melodies suggest a close affinity with the Renaissance.
As one would naturally expect with music of an oral tradition, sun in scattered locations from Morocco to Greece and Turkey, these melodies exist in many variants, with conspicuous differences especially in the repetition (or lack) of motives and phrases. Thus players or listeners who already know some of these melodies should not react with excessive indignation if their versions do not quite correspond to those used as points of departure here.
One should play these pieces in a singing manner, consistent with the vocal nature of the original melodies. A flexibility of tempo can work well, provided that one maintains a good sense of continuity and flow, once again keeping with the spirit of the originals. The performance of ornamental figures presents an interesting problem. Ideally they should sound as if the player had added them to a more skeletal structure, but in actuality quite a number of these figures already appear in the original melodies (especially “Nani, nani”).
Por que llorax blanca nina
Morena ma llaman
Ya viene el cativo
Una matica de ruda