Piano composition by contemporary multi-instrumentalist Afraaz Mulji is inspired by a 16th-century music manuscript in the exhibition Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. The manuscript, now in the collection of Western University in Ontario, was originally owned by a monastery in Spain and used for communal singing in the choir.
Mulji performs his original composition and is joined in conversation with Amirali Alibhai (Head of Performing Arts, Aga Khan Museum) to discuss the process of composing the piece and his interest in the Spanish antiphoner and its music. The piano piece was commissioned by and recorded at the Aga Khan Museum (December 2021), the domed space of the auditorium providing chapel-like acoustic for the performance.
Mulji reflects on the shared acoustical traits of Christian and Muslim sacred spaces and the inspiration he found in the European Christian manuscript: “the idea of ‘text’ in all its myriad plethoric expressions fascinates me, and moves me.”
Learn more about the Hidden Stories exhibition, the Western Antiphoner at the heart of this performance, and where Afraaz Mulji sought inspiration for the opus from: hiddenstories.library.utoronto.ca/.