Tazul I. Tajuddin


for string quartet

duration: 11minutes

Jeritan is a piece in my Arabesque cycle* using blocks of sound that move in time. Jeritan is a Malay word for scream or screaming. The piece is based around three Edvard Munch paintings: The Scream, Melancholy and The Dance of Life, and was written specially for the Fourth Edvard Grieg Memorial Competition for Composers.

The landscape of the sound changes constantly from one time signature grid to another. The patterns of sound never repeat themselves and create irregular patterns throughout the piece. The complexity of emotions and the act of composition (both of the paintings and music) are translated into abstract sound.

Although the piece has three sections it should be played continuously.

I : Scream - this section starts in the high register and gradually moving down towards the lower register. The sound moves in blocks within the time signature grid. The glissandi between the instruments and the pitches are an important characteristic of this section. These glissandi alternate with contrasting non-glissando blocks.

II : Melancholy - the pitch A is the centre of this section. This pitch moves up or down a whole tone or semitone. The pitch is distributed between the instruments and played pizzicato, arco normale or arco sul ponticello.

III : The Dance of Life - Chord clusters are the characteristic of this section. The chords are normally placed in the beginning of the time signature grid, but some of them are placed irregularly. There will be running passages up or down after the chord. Some of the passages are in blocks, and others feature one, two or three instruments only. This section starts more or less calmly but then gradually become more intense, especially at the end.

Postscript - this is a very short passage, symbolically representing the soul or spirit being lifted upwards.

* The Arabesque cycle consists of 8 pieces at the moment:

1. Alhambra -Arabesque for String Quartet
2. Arabesque II for 2 Violins and 2 Piccolos
3. Jeritan for String Quartet
4. Corak-Arabesque V for Harp and Violoncello
5. Corakan for Large Orchestra
6. Tenunan for Chamber Ensemble
7. Mantera... for Solo Flute and 2 Sound Sculpture Players
8. Tenunan II for Flute, Celesta, Piano, Percussion and String Orchestra.

Other pieces will be:

Tenunan III for Orchestra
Tenunan IV -Arabesque IV for Solo Guitar
Tenunan V for Guitar, Viola and Flute
Tenunan VI for String Quartet.

Tazul I. Tajuddin, who has been described by Henri Dutilleux as 'un compositeur tres finement doue', was born in Malaysia in 1969. He received his first music education in Malaysia (B.Mus 1991, Universiti Teknologi MARA), but only started composing in 1994.

He received a special scholarship award from the Ministry of Culture of Malaysia, enabling him to study composition at Carnegie Mellon University, USA (M.Mus 1996). Later he received a scholarship award from Universiti Malaysia Sabah for further study and now is completing a D.Phil in Composition at the University of Sussex, UK, under Martin Butler. He attended the IRCAM Académie d'eté in 2001 and received an individual meeting with Brian Ferneyhough and composition classes with Marc-André Dalbavie, Roger Reynolds and Jonathan Harvey. Other composers and musicians he has studied with include lannis Xenakis, Michael Finnissy, Leonardo Balada, Reza Vali, Juan Pablo lzquierdo and Siti Chairani Proehoeman. In summer 1996, he won a scholarship to study with Franco Donatoni at the Manuel de Falla International Festival in Granada, Spain. However, he remains independent and self-taught; and as a Malay, he is in a unique cultural position and background as a composer.

His works have been performed in the United States, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Singapore, and some pieces have been commissioned by the Malaysian Ministry of Culture. His study of Arabesque cycle currently consists of 8 works: it is a study of structural patterns in construction and sound organisation using his own Malay cultural background methodologies.

Works include Alhambra - Arabesque for string quartet (1999), Arabesque II for two piccolos and two violins (1999), Jeritan for string quartet (1999-2000, finalist in the Fourth International Grieg Competition, Oslo, Norway), Corakan (2000) for large orchestra, Tenunan (2000) for chamber ensemble (workshopped by IXION), Corak (2000) for cello and harp (commissioned by John McCrae for future CD recording and performance in Italy and the UK), Mantera... (2000-1) for solo flute and 2 sound sculpture players (finalist in Derek Shiel's Sound Sculptures Composition Competition, scheduled to be premiered in December 2001 in London), and Tenunan II for flute, celeste, piano, percussion and string orchestra. Other pieces in progress include Tenunan III for Orchestra, Tenunan IV - Arabesque IV for solo guitar and Tenunan V for guitar, viola and flute.

Other works include Self-portrait for large orchestra (1996) performed by Carnegie Philharmonic, Pemuda for vocal soloists, chorus and chamber orchestra (1996) performed by Carnegie Contemporary Ensemble, both in USA, Ritual for vocal soloists, chorus, piano and three percussionists (Malaysian commissioned; 1997) performed by National Choir of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, Second Symphony: Meditasi Ritualistik Seorang Pemuda (Malaysian commissioned; 1997).

In the future, he will again be writing for the National Choir of Malaysia. He is also a conductor (National Choir of Malaysia, 1993-7) and has conducted his own works in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore.

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