Primiani: Living in Fear

“Do women who live in fear ever feel safe?” – Leanna Primiani

On April 5, Leanna Primini explores this question with her new work 1001 performed by the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra. Anna Edwards conducts. Commissioned by the ensemble, 1001 is based on the famed 18th-century Persian tale, and was written as an accompanying ‘side-by-side’ piece to be programmed with Rimsky-Korsakov’s well-known work Scheherazade.

Anna Edwards shares some thoughts about 1001 before its premiere. “1001 things we do to escape death….Monarch Shahryar discovered that his first wife was unfaithful to him, therefore resolving to marry a new virgin every day as he beheaded the previous day’s wife. This ensured that each new queen would be faithful to him and him alone. However, once he met wise, witty, and well-read Scheherazade, the King’s life was transformed forever…This concert celebrates music with a twist. We perform both Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Leanna Primiani’s world premiere 1001, a current day musical response to Rimsky-Korsakov’s epic musical tale from Scheherazade’s perspective.”

Anna Edwards, conductor

Primiani brings her own unique and interesting view on this tale as she explores Scheherazade’s story about a woman living in fear. “I’ve always been fascinated with this story. I often wondered what would it have been like to be Scheherazade? Finishing one story and making up another for years? Living in fear of a man you live with? Living in fear for your life? Difficult to imagine, yes, but many women live in fear of their spouse every day, and many fearing for their lives. Through 1001, I musically explore the psyche of a woman living in fear.”

She continues. “Using musical elements from the Rimsky-Korsakov original, 1001 is written with thematic suggestions from his Scheherazade using ideas of palindromes, structures of the Fibonacci sequence, and ratios of the Golden Mean. I tell the story but from Scheherazade’s point of view. While her underlying reality may be based in fear, there must have been a myriad of emotions she experienced: fear, anger, hope, anxiety, and finally ‘peace’ when the Sultan decides to spare her life. Peace? Really? Does the anxiety ever go away? It is up for you, the listener, to decide.” A subsequent performance follows on April 6.