From the recording Threaded Sky
Mani Mirzaee is an Iranian-American composer, educator, pianist, setar and tar performer. His music often explores the seams and boundaries between Eastern and Western traditions, through which he continues to analyze his musical DNA. Mirzaee is currently pursuing an M.M. in composition at The Hartt School, where he has also received his GPD under the tutelage of Robert Carl, Ken Steen, David Macbride, and Larry Alan Smith.
The Wight of Shadows was written for violin and viola duo originally as part of a project of “miniatures,” in which all pieces composed had to be approximately 90 seconds long. The performers, instead of using their usual bows on their instruments, create sound by hitting or bouncing on the string with a lightweight Persian hammer called a “mezrab.” The particular mezrab used in “The Wight of Shadows” is one that is used to play a “santur,” a hammered dulcimer of Mesopotamian origin. Notes are changed not only by moving fingers with each strike, but also by using a “hammer on and hammer off” technique familiar to guitar players. The resulting eerie effect can be likened to the chattering of insects, or rattling of bones.