Program Notes:

he title of this work, Kālas, is the Sanskrit word for “time” which, in its
masculine singular form, is the central word in the famous line: kālo ‘smi
lokakşayakŗt pravŗddho (I am time, the mighty destroyer of worlds) from
the eleventh chapter of the Bagavad Gita. In these lines that are the
subject of the first movement, the prince Arujna invokes the lord Vishnu,
imploring him to reveal the nature of his newly taken multi-armed form.
Vishnu responds with the above quoted apocalyptical line. In the
Invocation, this narrative is carried through recitations from both the
clarinetist and violist in the original Sanskrit, starting, as many ancient
invocations do, with a repeated command: “Tell me”.
The revelation of Vishnu’s new form as the “destroyer of worlds” leads to
the second movement: Illumination. This is a reference to the radiant
brilliance of the god’s form as well as to an earlier verse in the Gita that
refers apocalyptically to the light of a thousand suns. The playing is
virtuosic, the sounds and textures luminous and the character
sometimes quirky, sometimes deeply intense.
The overwhelming momentum of the Illumination brings us to a brief
cadenza for the clarinet and, as the movement continues to wind down, a
hymn and, finally, the same cadence that punctuated the first movement.
After achieving Illumination, we come to the final movement: Meditation,
which reflects lyrically and whimsically on something now distant. The
tone is dolorous, even nostalgic and culminates with the voice of Dr. J.
Robert Oppenheimer in his testimony following the successful testing of
the atom bomb at Los Alamos: “… I remembered the line from the Hindu
Scripture, the Bagavad Gita: Vishnu, trying to impress upon the prince
his duty, takes on his multiarmed form and says ‘I am become death, the
destroyer of worlds’. I suppose we all felt that, one way or another.”
                                                 -Mohammed Fairouz, 2009

Kālas was commissioned by Counter)induction for their 11th concert
season and is affectionately dedicated to Tobias Picker
Copyright © 2009 by Mohammed Fairouz
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For Clarinet in A and Viola
Mohammed Fairouz
Title page and performance notes from the manuscript score to Kālas

Kālas                                         Mohammed Fairouz (2009)

I.        Invovation
III.       Meditation