The Caprice en forme d'arabesques ("Caprice in the Form of Arabesques") was composed in Morocco while Dillon Ford was on the faculty of the American School of Tangier (1982-83). This six-movement suite tells no specific story. Each movement, rather, represents some impression of a particular person, place, or thing encountered either in everyday reality or in the realm of imagination.
The title Odalisques was originally suggested by the memory of an Ingres painting in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. Such images have come under attack in recent years by postcolonial theorists, who regard them as objectionably "orientalist" misrepresentations of the Muslim world. This little movement, however, was written on Moroccan Independence Day with the political equality of women very much in mind. Indeed, the issue of independence is symbolically elaborated through the use of a conspicuously polyphonic texture in which each voice preserves its distinct individuality while complementing the other.