Return Of The Nightingales, by Sadie Harrison, is for solo Piano and Nightingale.
This score is prefaced by the following Persian Sufi text:'Ajab tarana e sar karda am darin golshan, Khoda konad ke na sazad falak khamush mara' - which translates in English to 'I have started to sing a wonderful song in this flower-garden like a nightingale. I hope the movement of the stars (destiny) does not make me silent again.'
It is used as a direct reference to the devastation of Afghan culture during the period of the Taliban when musicians were silenced, many exiled or fleeing, and to their re-emergence following the Taliban’s expulsion from 2001.
The piece is dedicated to John Baily who, together with his wife Veronica Doubleday, has worked tirelessly to preserve Afghan music. His video documentary, Return of the Nightingales (2012) celebrates the fabulous work undertaken by the Afghanistan National Institute for Music.
Its mottos are:BUILD LIVES THROUGH MUSICREVIVE AND PRESERVE AFGHAN MUSICTRAIN FUTURE MUSIC EDUCATORSESTABLISH INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUEASSURE MUSICAL RIGHTS
Return Of The Nightingales was commissioned by Late Music Festival, with funds from the Performing Rights Society.
It was premiered by Ian Pace on 3 August 2013 at the Unitarian Chapel, York.