Moroccan Sketches

for flute, viola and harp

Stephen Roberts

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for flute, viola and harp

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Composer Stephen Roberts
Year of Composition 2016
Duration ca.10'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-sr1ms1


Moroccan Sketches was written for the Pelléas Ensemble in 2016. It is set in three movements and, rather like a picture postcard, draws on sounds heard whilst travelling around North Africa and the Middle East. The famous Marrakesh square Djema el-Fna (Assembly of the Dead), with its bustling markets and street musicians, is the subject of the first movement. This leads straight into Night Music in which the Chaabi-style music of a wedding feast is heard in the distance. Gradually the stillness of the night wraps its cloak of silence. The third movement, Jilala, is named after traditional Moroccan music and comprises fleeting aural ‘glimpses’ of traditional folk dances and Berber sounds. The piece does not use actual Moroccan folk songs, but rather tries to create an impression of the indigenous music and scenery of the country.

“The third item on the programme, Moroccan Sketches, was written for the Ensemble by the London and Birmingham based composer Stephen Roberts. Striking in this work was the ability of instruments to combine in producing new and intriguing sound. Roberts and Pelléas achieved sounds that the well-travelled among our audience identified instantly with Moroccan instruments. For the more stay-at-home the Ensemble’s brilliant playing of an intricate and interesting sequence of impressions was sufficient delight in itself.” Iffley Music Society Concerts (no author name)

“Stephen Roberts’s well-crafted and imaginative writing gave all three players the opportunity to show the full range of their skills and is an interesting and exciting addition to their repertoire.” – Colin Marston, Penrith Music Club