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Mohammed Fairouz (b.1985): Symphony No. 3 'Poems and Prayers'; Tahrir / Sasha Cooke, mz; David Kravitz, baritone; David Krakauer, clarinet

Album Summary

>Fairouz, Mohammed : Tahrir, for clarinet & orchestra
>Fairouz, Mohammed : Symphony no 3 ("Poems and Prayers"), for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
Tahrir is about as ethnic as it can get and still be counted as classical music. It's written for clarinet and orchestra, and the clarinetist sounds like an escapee from a belly-dance band. The Symphony No. 3, Poems and Prayers, is a "musical meditation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"; it sets the Kaddish along with excerpts from the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, Fadwa Tuqan, and Yehudi Amichai. The performance is generally acceptable. Notes and translations are in English; texts are in Hebrew and Arabic, transliterated and in their natural scripts.

In the context of a world focused on the chaos and strife in the Middle East, Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz presents two new masterworks combining the musical and textual backgrounds of the region, exalting commonalities, and sharing a vision of unity and hope for peace. Combining massive musical forces with star-powered soloists, this release delivers a musically, sonically and spiritually engaging album that transcends culture or creed."an important new artistic voice" - New York Times

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (12/04/2013-12/08/2013).



Reviews

Another important release from this talented young composer!
The more I hear of Mohammed Fairouz and his music, the more impressed I am. It is emotionally direct, uses styles from a number of different sources and tends to appeal to a wide audience. For example, his brash, theatrical and culturally meaningful "Tahrir" for clarinet and orchestra relies heavily on the particular skills of the always incredible David Krakauer. The piece is infused with Middle Eastern sound and a sensitivity to the events in Tahrir Square, Cairo when the Egyptian people overthrew the Mubarek government ("Tahrir" in fact being Arabic for 'Freedom'). In fact, some of the opening bars are not even particularly "ethnic" so much as cinematic. Fairouz's music even seems to channel Philip Glass in places and is wholly entertaining. The clarinet part is quite difficult and requires someone who can pitch a lot and has a fat, "eastern" tone. As a clarinetist, I worry sometimes about pieces that are tailored so very much to one particular performer; but "Tahrir" is wildly entertaining and fun to listen to. As for Fairouz's Symphony No.3 - "Poems and Prayers", this is an equally impressive large scale work but one which is quite a bit more serious in its tone. This is a sprawling and impressive work for soloists, chorus and orchestra. The work is, essentially, a plea for peace in the middle east with its texts alternating between Jewish and Palestinian origin. Some of the text is of very modern vintage too, such as the 2002 poem "State of Siege" by Mahmoud Darwish; written during the height of the siege of Rahmallah. This all adds to the sense of contemporary relevance and Fairouz is to be complimented for writing music that is often beautiful and occasionally frightening in its intensity; but which never falls into a cliche of sorts. This is a very impressive disc and the two disc format (CD and Bluray audio) gives some very nice and very impressive listening options. They are both quite good - but the Bluray is more expansive. High recommended!
Submitted on 06/05/14 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Fairouz, Mohammed : Tahrir, for clarinet & orchestra
  • Conductor: Neal Stulberg
  • Ensemble: UCLA Universtiy Chorus
  • Notes: Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (12/04/2013-12/08/2013)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2011

>Fairouz, Mohammed : Symphony no 3 ("Poems and Prayers"), for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra
  • Performers: Sasha Cooke; David Kravitz (Bass)
  • Conductor: Neal Stulberg
  • Notes: Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (12/04/2013-12/08/2013)
  • Running Time: 59 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 2010

>Fairouz, Mohammed : Tahrir, for clarinet & orchestra
  • Conductor: Neal Stulberg
  • Notes: Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (12/04/2013-12/08/2013)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2011

>Fairouz, Mohammed : Symphony no 3 ("Poems and Prayers"), for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra
  • Performers: Sasha Cooke; David Kravitz (Bass)
  • Conductor: Neal Stulberg
  • Notes: Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (12/04/2013-12/08/2013)
  • Running Time: 59 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 2010