Flowers from Tugba Tree

(Flowers From the Tugba Tree)
Cantata for Orchestra, Soprano, Chorus and Narrator

This is a piece full of strong beliefs that questions life and death. Some movements describe the pain and sorrow of people who have lost their loved ones; sung as their own elegy. However, death is described not as an ending but as a door to eternity, and life is described as a human’s first step towards eternal life. Technically, this composition has been written for full orchestra, chorus and solo soprano in 8 movements, and has also been developed for digital orchestra & digital chorus. The composer also worked on a MIDI orchestration version and he produced it as an Electronic Music Project during his doctoral studies in music in 2002. The digital orchestra consists of sample instruments and the chorus parts have been generated from 4 chorus members that are enhanced to a symphonic chorus. In this digital audio project, the aim was to make the artificial orchestra sound as real as possible, with also using electronic features and effects.

The recordings below are from the Digital Art Work that has been produced in the SEBIT studios.

View the Full Score
Part 1: Lyric Poem (Narrator sings a poem as an opening to the piece)

Part 2: Introduction (Prologue)

Part 3: Life and the Time That Goes by (Soprano & Chorus)

Part 4: The Cry and, the Revolt (Soprano & Chorus)

Part 5: Call the Divine Light (Soprano & Chorus)

Part 6: Can You Hear Me, If I Cry out? (Soprano & Chorus)

Part 7: The Clock (Narrator & Orchestra)

Part 8: When Each Day Passes and Night Comes (Soprano & Chorus)

* The explanations below are taken from the analysis of the piece during a workshop. Additionally, the lyrics are not translated in a poetic way, but only for their general meaning.

Part 1: Lyric Poem

Narrator sings a poem as an opening to the piece

Life and death are separated by only a thin line,

They are as close as an instant to each other, And yet are so contrary and separate.

 Death is an unknown for those who live, A place to which see off the ones we love.

Death is separation, and life is what separates us.

But perhaps there is another life, more beautiful than the one we know.

Perhaps we haven’t truly been born yet, we are babies waiting to be born.

If so, our life here is so important,

To help us reach that virtuousness.

So why is there sorrow, why do we revolt?

Perhaps time doesn’t exist after life

If this is true, we are already together,

In a place where time has no end, no beginning.

But our time here passes with the ticking of the clock.

The strike of every hour, reminds us that our time passes far away from them.

This life belongs to the living, as does this longing and pain.

In fact I myself miss them all, from the earliest moments that I feel them slipping away.

We exist on that thin line; to one side is death, to the other, life.

One step back is the past; one step forward is the future.

What we have left are the memories and longing inside…

The tree “Tugba” is a tree in heaven.

The whisper of the wind that reaches us between its leaves,

Is the song of the flowers,

who have completed their time in this world

and have sprouted to new life there…

Narrator: Zeyno Ustunisik

Part 2: Introduction(Prologue):
The first part is based on an introduction to the theme of life and death. It’s possible to hear the action of the minor seconds not only in this introduction but also in most of the parts. Like life and death, these intervals are close to each other in notation but are often discordant, and they sound contrary to each other when they come together. This idea is stressed in this composition with the use of minor seconds. Additionally, the theme is hidden in some other parts like a bridge between life and death.

Part 3: Life and the Time That Goes by:
Soprano: Begum Mengu
This is the part for M. Soprano. The music and lyrics describe the passing of life within the passage of time. The lowest Drum indicates the time, slowly continuing towards eternity, and the tubular bell signals the passing of time. 
The Soprano signs:
“In the passing of time,
People begin work every morning,
Anticipating and imagining the evening.
And when evening arrives,
They contemplate the coming day.
Thus, life continues the same,
Everyday seemingly unchanging,
But each day is its own,
The same glass, filled anew with fresh water, and reborn.”
Lyrics by: Musa Kazim Ozturk

Part 4: The Cry and, the Revolt
This part is for orchestra and chorus, and represents the pain that people feel when they lose a loved one. This is a cry of despair by the living, but also an expression of their anger at death for taking their loved one. This is commonly what people feel during those moments. But there is a “B part” and a new theme comes in the middle of this movement. It refers to peoples being soft and calm in feelings but still feeling pain. They cry and wish for God to hear them, and wish for their pain to be taken away. 
In B part the Soprano begins to pray:
“My God, please hear me.
Rise, like a sun inside of me.
After I’ve cried so much,
There are no tears left in my eyes”.
The Chorus also sings the same prayer. In the next measures, with the high strings holding the key, the tenors sing in pianissimo: “My God please hear me,” as the inner voice of the woman while she falls asleep with tiredness. The theme is heard here, reminding us of the atmosphere of the “introduction”. Finally, the storm inside again covers as the A part of this movement. It climbs until the chorus cries out again. It is possible to follow minor seconds again especially in chorus.

Part 5: Call the Divine Light
Here, the music dramatizes the need for rest in the hearts of those suffering from loss. It is time to surrender and bid them farewell. This is an elegy to the departed, a pause before continuing toward the light. It’s time to share their love as their spirits stand just one step from the divine light. It is time to ask for mercy. It begins with the bassoon solo on the strings harmony in e minor. This is a waltz of souls symbolizing life and death, a surrounding embrace during the solemnity. 
The Soprano sings:
“Call the light, call to mind,
Your face shines like an Angel’s
Dazzles my eyes, your lights
Our longing, our love,
Your absence, surround us”
After the soprano sings her part, the piano gently takes the lead with a sudden modulation to b minor. While it plays the main theme of this movement, a solo clarinet plays a complementary theme which will also be the main theme of the last movement. In addition, cellos counterpointic melody will join them and 3 melodies at a time will create an atmosphere of the two different movements. Another sudden modulation to “e flat minor” is heard as the chorus takes its part and this movement ends on the dominant chord, with the theme on trumpet that is again the theme from the last movement.

Part 6: Can You Hear Me, If I Cry out?
In this d minor part, we can again feel the sound of the passing of time, or even think of it as the steady beat of the heart. 
The Soprano sings:
“You are here no more,
We are here without you,
Can you hear if I cry out to you?”
During the bridge from A to B, a modulation from g minor to e flat minor will be heard with a crescendo in the orchestra, and it climbs to the climax and splashes out.  The bridge starts as the soprano sings her last notes on D bass pedal, but the tonic g minor never becomes stable. At the first beat after the modulation to g minor, the tonic chord starts in like a hammock movement, with one step to the right, one to the left, as if to say “time never rests”. The music is now in a “far” tonality “e flat minor” (far according to d minor, in tonality chamber); which is also “near” to (only a minor second away from) d minor. Again it refers to the relation between “life and death” here.
The B part of this movement is in “a piacere” which should be sung freely. While horns hold the two notes (E flat and F), another seconds on the chord E flat 9.
The Soprano signs:
“Sleep in peace,… in your grave
May the gates of heaven be opened for you
As it is what you deserve.”
We are now again in d minor without a returning bridge but with a soft move down a “second”.
This time the soprano sings for those who have pain in their hearts:
If you think “Death is a separation”
And “It is ‘life’ which separates us”
Don’t forget! What makes them alive,
Are the things they have given life to
“Your children, grand children and great grand children…”

Part 7: The Clock
Story by: Sukran Yucel
The short story “Game Against Death” served as the inspiration for this movement. The story tells of an old woman who is lonely and wishes for her last moments to come soon. She starts to tell about the old clock at her house, which had stopped and never started again. The clock reminds her of the past, she explains her current feelings, and describes how she has nothing left to ask from life. She believes that she has completed her time on earth, and accuses the stopped clock of prolonging her life. It is a sad story and a sad view of how one person sees life and death.
The music expresses her feelings, by echoing the sound of the clock. A trick in the melody is that the melodic phrases never start on the main beats, but on the 2nd or 4th instead. This expresses the woman’s belief that she is out of step with time. . A slow crescendo in the orchestration by adding instruments in every phrase carries the music to the chorus part
The woman says, and the chorus sings, as the last words:
“Ring your bells my clock,
Wait for me my love
Let the bells ring
Time for my lonely dreams
To come to an end

Part 8: When Each Day Passes and Night Comes…
Lyrics by: Mehmet Sait Turkes
This last movement is for both the soprano and chorus. “The Soprano may stay close to the window, may watch the red sun set far behind the mountains and sing for the love she has lost”, and the composition describes the mood of this part. The main theme can be recognized as that from part 5.
The Soprano and later the Chorus sings:
“When each day passes and night comes,
The flame of sorrow covers my heart.
Whenever the sunlight pierces the darkness,
Your “hope to come” fills this house
In the end, it becomes a dream
And sinks from the west with the last redness.
Watching your return, my eyes are filled with tears
I stare into the unknown, without life.”

Comments Are Closed