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Flute, Bb Clarinet, Vibraphone & Tambourine, Viola, Cello​

(a version created for Citywater also exists with violin instead of viola)


Approx. 20 minutes​

The title and inspiration for this quintet is drawn from a 1963 novella (originally in Arabic) by the world-renowned author/poet Ghassan Kanafani. The tragic story follows the struggle of three different men (a boy, an adult, and an old man) in the misery of post-1948 Palestine. Hoping to earn money and better fortune for their families, they attempt to smuggle themselves to Kuwait where they might find work. Their paths converge in Basra where they meet their smuggler, a colorful, lively truck driver not without his own obstacles. To pass the checkpoints on the way they must hide in the lorry’s water tank, which is cooked by the hot Iraqi sun. With their lives already in ruin, the men stop at nothing to cross the blazing desert. Himself a Palestinian refugee, Kanafani is known for his portrayal of the Palestinian experience through modern style/prose, vivid characters, and here, an intense plot. As a composer I was deeply inspired by these emotional and structural elements. The piece is dedicated to Dr Stephen Blumberg, for his mentoring and help with the creative process.

*Winner of 2010 Festival of New American Music (FeNAM) Student Composers Competition

Quintet - Men in the Sun (2010)

I. Opening

II. Marwan and the Driver of the Lorry

III. Basra (Intermezzo)

IV. The Road

V. "Sun and Shade"

VI. Final Checkpoint

Paolo Reyes, conductor;  Jamie Jun, flute;  Jo Milton, clarinet;  Boyce Jeffries, percussion;  Jonathan Fleuter, viola;  Joyce Park, cello. Sacramento State 2013.

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