Fugha, or ‘fugue’ in Arabic, borrows its structure from the harmonic motion of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fugue in F-sharp minor, BWV 859, from Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Clavier. I have always wondered what it might have been like if Bach was born in Alexandria, rather than Eisenach, and what harmonic discoveries of sorts he might have made in pursuit of his perfect counterpoint. The movement is organized into several contrasting sections of “quasi-cadenzas” and “episodes” that directly correspond to the original fugue’s material, however told in my own personal way.
Saad Haddad (b. 1992) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. His music delves into that relationship by transferring the performance techniques of traditional Arab instruments to Western symphonic instruments, while extending their capabilities through the advancement of technology. Born in Georgia and raised in California, Haddad holds degrees in composition from the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, where his principal teachers included John Corigliano, Mari Kimura, Bruce Broughton, Frank Ticheli, Stephen Hartke, and Donald Crockett. His music is published exclusively by Dib Press.