Fairouz, Mohammed / Poems And Prayers
Tahrir [Arabic: Freedom](for B-Flat Clarinet and Orchestra) is in sonata form with two-fold theme exposition, development and recapitulation. It intertwines Jewish and Arabic musical styles with western harmonic conventions. The opening phrase illustrates Jewish klezmer practice, followed by an incarnation of traditional Arab music, accentuated by conga drums. Dissonance searches for resolution, and tension between opposing visions comes to a point in a Phillip Glass moment of stasis in the work’s middle. Unresolved conflict pervades the piece. Symphony No. 3, Poems and Prayers is scored for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra and was commissioned by The Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development at Northeastern U. The symphony incorporates texts ranging from the ancient Mourner’s Kaddish prayer to modern Palestinian and Israeli tragic poetry. Fairouz symbolizes philosophical questions by often making the music and texts incongruous. The Symphony opens with a powerful choral and then mezzo soprano-cello treatment of the Kaddish. The Oseh Shalom [prayer for peace], set to a beautiful choral melody, heals the musical divisiveness. Lullaby, sets to beautiful music Palestinian poetry in which a woman sings a biblical love poem to her dead son [voiced by clarinet], symbolizing familial love. Minyan [the Judaic quorum of males required for group worship], scored for a cantor and his congregation [male choir] uses the Oseh Shalom to illustrate how love also solidifies communal connection. Night Fantasy sets a Palestinian poem for somber chamber group, solo violin and mezzo soprano. Arab lament is besieged by strains of Western music, including echoes of Chopin’s Funeral March. The mvmt ends hopefully, empowering the women who return to sing the Oseh Shalom. The finale sets Israeli poetry lamenting war dead. It opens with bells and a solemn baritone introduction, then juxtaposes sounds of war and heroism with nostalgic strains of Israeli music. The mvmt captures in a terrifying, disintegrating vocal fugue the irony and melancholy of continued war when all wish for peace, and ends with a prayer of peace to all the nations of the world.