Kaykhosrow's Ascension

Genre: Chamber

Instrumentation: Flute & Piano

Kaykhosrow's Ascension was commissioned by DuoSolo and premiered in Carnegie Hall on 04 June 2006. See related entry regarding the premiere. The score for Kaykhosrow's Ascension is available through Kefali Press.

Listen: Kaykhosrow's Ascension

Program Notes

Inspired by Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Persian Book of Kings), Kaykhosrow’s Ascension is a loosely-programmatic work depicting the suffering and eventual heavenly departure of Kaykhosrow, one of ancient Persia’s greatest kings.

After many years of honorable ruling, Kaykhosrow became sated with kingship. As the descendant of the righteous Kavus and the wicked Afrasyab, he began to feel the weight of his crooked heritage. For five weeks he locked himself away and prayed, anguishing lest he fall into wicked ways. One night the angel Sorush appeared to him in a dream and comforted him, saying “You will find a home beside the Source of Righteousness, there is no need for you to sojourn in this darkness any longer.” Kaykhosrow then gave away all of his riches and even his crown. With a party of his followers he made his way up a mountainside. During the night he disappeared, leaving no earthly trace.

Musically, the “ascension” of Kaykhosrow is found in the octatonic scale. Each section of the piece ascends by one note in the scale, though there is one slight alteration. There is one central theme – all thematic material grows out of the main idea. In the final section there is an eventual breakdown as the parts become disassociated with one another and eventually disappear, thus representing Kaykhosrow’s final moments and mystical renunciation of the world.

Kaykhosrow’s Ascension was commissioned by DuoSolo (Mike Kirkendoll and Mary Fukushima).

Also see what New York Concert Review said about the performance (PDF).

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