The first mvt is based on a rhythmic idea and my notion of attractive women in virtually no clothes waving their midriffs at passers by! The melodic material is not particularly eastern, but the minor modes give it a slight feel of the mysterious and the unsettled rhythm in the cello drives it, rather like a recalcitrant camel, into the distance!
The second movement uses some string tricks in the form of harmonics to create a feeling of unease. Like many people, I suspect, I'm not comfortable with the idea of some potentate keeping women locked up just for his pleasure. However, the surroundings are plush and there are gardens and birds and so on and the rooms are pleasant enough. Maybe a young girl is awaiting her master's pleasure on her first night in the harem? Nervous and somewhat over-awed, she is saddened because her heart belongs to a boy from her village...etc etc. various moods. anger, distress and then, finally determination.
The third movement uses the "C Persian Scale" which includes Db, Gb and Ab. This gives rise to some rather odd harmonies. I imagined some dervishes, known for their frenetic whirling dances. I kind of crossed the idea with a jig in 9/8 which gives it a kind of devil-dance feel. String harmonics and double stopping are prominent features in this movement and, as the pace picks up, we hear the melody played on harmonics and passed between the instruments. before a final frenzied flourish as the dance ends.