Artwork: Caravaggio (c. 1600); The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (detail).

Instrumentation: violins, viola, cello, piano, and fixed media
Total duration: 56'
Release Date: 5 June 2023Location: Cambridge, UK

Thus Spoke Earth

Junya Makino, violin
Nicholas Swett, cello
Kristin Barone-Samadi, piano 

Shattering in Seven Pieces for Dream and Wedding and Death:
Saman Samadi, violin I
Junya Makino, violin II
Polly Almond, viola
Sarah Henderson, cello 

Thus Spoke Earth:
Saman Samadi, violin
Kristin Barone-Samadi, piano 

‘Come to the edge,’ he said.
‘We can't, we're afraid!’ they responded.
‘Come to the edge,’ he said.
‘We can't, we will fall!’ they responded.
‘Come to the edge,’ he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew. (by Christopher Logue) 

The duality of finite space and time evolved to form the cosmos from Vāyu (the infinite Space) and Zurvan (infinite Time), ancient Persians believed. The benevolent alliance of Space-Time was established in the Zoroastrian Avesta. Vāyu, a multifaceted Persian deity of wind and space, was primordially there to shield the creation of Spənta Mainyu. Vayū is superior to both Spənta Mainyu, the Beneficent Spirit, and Aŋra Mainyu, the Evil Spirit. Ahura Mazdā, the creator of the two Spirits, ought to entreat Vāyu for help. Vāyu could appear as a Good Wāy (Wāy ī weh) and the Bad Wāy (Wāy ī wattar); either a yazata (spirit worthy of worship) or daeva (evil spirit), depending upon the course along which the wind blew. In Zurvanism, Vāyu-Vātu represented one facet of the quaternary divinity Zurvan: the vastness of Infinite Space. Vāyu is one etymon I have used to form the word Vāyuvēra to title this composition, and vēra is derived from the Sanskrit morpheme ver, meaning root, or rhizome. 

Shattering in Seven Pieces for Dream and Wedding and Death (2022), for string quartet, is predicated upon seven segments extracted from the poem entitled Shattering in Fourteen New Pieces for Dream and Wedding and Death [in Persian: shekastan dar chahārdeh qat’e-ye no barāye royā va arusi va marg] (1993), by the late Reza Baraheni (13 Dec 1935—25 Mar 2022), a trailblazing luminary in the realm of postmodern Persian poetry. This work stands as a homage to his profound literary contributions. 

Thus Spoke Earth (2022), a composition for violin and piano accompanied by fixed media, derives both musical and contextual essence from the poetic work "pas āngāh zamin be soxan dar-āmad" by Ahmad Shamlou, presented in its original Persian form. Notably, 'Thus Spoke Earth' represents my translation of the original title, signifying the harmonious confluence of linguistic and philosophical domains. This musical endeavor unfolds within a nuanced and complex soundscape, fusing the creative realms of Vāyuvēra and Shattering. This amalgamation encompasses Persian modal and prosodic elements, thus imbuing the composition with a culturally resonant debth of sound and meaning. Of particular significance is the integration of Shamlou's own recitation of his poem, astutely woven into the fixed media component. This integration serves to punctuate the second part of the composition, reinforcing the symbiotic relationship between text and music, and thereby enriching the overall sonic narrative. This creative choice exemplifies the interplay between literature and musical expression, elucidating the complexity of 'Thus Spoke Earth.'

—Saman Samadi, Cambridge, May 2023