Tarik O’Regan conjures musical reminiscences of childhood summers spent in North Africa in his latest orchestral piece, Trances, premiered by Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra conducted by Courtney Lewis on June 10. The three movement work, which lasts around 20 minutes, has been commission by the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida for the final concert of its 2021/22 season.
Trances takes its title from the Ahmed El Maanouni’s 1981 documentary film about the groundbreaking Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane and is the third in a series of orchestral works by O’Regan (following Raï (2006) and Chaâbi (2012)) that take North African popular and folk music forms as their starting point.
Music from Morocco and Algeria played a formative role in the composer’s earliest musical experiences, through visits to family there from which he brought back recordings to his childhood home in London. O’Regan points out that his own musical take on these styles is purely personal. ‘Rather than being ethnographic studies, in these works I am interested in how I recall the music of my youth, and of my own heritage, through the haze of memory,’ he writes. ‘Specifically, in Trances I’m trying to define three textures of reminiscence, one in each movement.’
The Golden Measure premieres in UK and USA
At the start of the 2021/22 season O’Regan, who lives in San Francisco, was appointed Composer-in-Residence with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO), where he is also overseeing an ambitious new commissioning initiative. Among the first fruits of the role is the premiere of The Golden Measure from 'Ancestor', a collaboration with composer Errolyn Wallen for which each have contributed music and text. PBO will premiere the piece at Ryedale Festival in Yorkshire, UK, on July 29 followed by performances at St Martin in the Fields, London, on August 2 and the US premiere at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Connecticut, on August 18.