Program note

Titoo is a piece of programme music based on a tale from Kalila wa Dimna, an ancient book of fables. This composition combines Persian Naqqāli (traditional storytelling art) and contemporary music. It presents some microtonal delicacies of the traditional Persian dastgāhs (modal systems) as well as the new sonorities of contemporary society. This piece shows the contrast between different musical languages—mirroring the conflict between the Titoos and the Sea Proctor—and eventually attempts to bridge the chasm between those languages.

“Once upon a time, in a place called the Great Salt Desert, there was a sea… a stunning sea surrounded by groves where there were all kinds of birds: sparrows, pheasants, ducks, cranes, herons, storks, hawks, falcons, and many more. Over the sea ruled a vain overlord, called the Sea Proctor, who had forbidden the birds from burying their eggs by the sea. One day, a young pair of Titoos from a distant land moved into the grove by the sea. They weren’t like any other bird there, yet they flocked with all of them. They liked their new home and wished to lay their eggs and raise their chicks there. The Titoos questioned the Sea Proctor’s edict against raising one’s family by the sea, where their new friends lived. They feared backlash from the Sea Proctor. But they pondered that they had many friends to lean on. So they lay their eggs by the sea like all titoos had done before them. Not long after the Titoos had buried their unhatched eggs, the Sea Proctor discovered the eggs and took them all away. Dismayed, the Titoos pleaded to the Sea Proctor, to no avail. So they appealed to all the birds they knew. The birds held a conference where they concluded that hurting a member of the group was like hurting all of them. Thereupon the birds decided to help the Titoos get their eggs back. As they were gathered, united in their intent and planning their action, the Phoenix appeared. With the Phoenix on their 
side, they easily found and recovered the eggs.”

Farshid Samandari
Vancouver, November, 2019.


Year of composition
Commissioned by Paramirabo

Last performances