Karim Al-Zand: Music: Imaginary Scenes

Imaginary Scenes

for violin & piano

The four scenes which make up this work are inspired by diverse and somewhat whimsical literary sources. The title of the first scene is taken from a short and poignant verse by English poet and novelist D. H. Lawrence (1885–1969).

The wind, the rascal, knocked at my door, and I said:
My love is come!
But oh, wind, what a knave thou art
To make sport of me when the days of my heart
Are drearisome,
And wearisome.

Scèna amorosa imagines music described in an intriguing letter published in the Musical Gazette of Milan, October 18, 1846:

“Looking for variety in the programs I executed at court, one evening…I improvised a sonata entitled ‘Scèna amorosa,’ the 4th string representing the man (Adonis) and the treble string the woman (Venus). This was the beginning of my habit of playing on one string.”

—Niccolò Paganini.

The work of renowned French illustrator J. J. Grandville image(1803–1847) includes many fantastical and bizarre images that can be seen as early precursors to the Surrealist movement in art. In his collection Un Autre Monde, a series of engravings depicts an ‘apocalyptic’ ballet: dancing crabs, mice, grasshoppers and scarab beetles; a ballerina gradually transformed into a chaise longue; and a pair of eerily smiling marionettes (shown at left) whose joints are made of springs.

An episode from my folktale setting Parizade and the Singing Tree provided the musical and dramatic impetus for the last movement. In one scene, the young adventurer encounters an old man sleeping at the side of the road. The narrator relates: “as Parizade approached, the dervish awoke from his recent slumber and began excitedly to beckon her toward him.”


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17 minutes

violin, piano

1. The wind, the rascal
2. Scèna amorosa
3. Mechanical marionettes
4. Whirling dervish

October 5, 2005, Houston TX
Sergiu Luca, violin | Brian Connelly, piano


1. The wind, the rascal
2. Scèna amorosa
3. Mechanical marionettes
4. Whirling dervish