Poems and Prayers

Poems and Prayers

7.99 17.99

Artists: University of California Philharmonia, University of California Chorale, University of California Chorus, Neal Stulberg (conductor); Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano), David Krakauer (clarinet), David Kravitz (baritone), Yehudi Amichai (lyricist), Mahmoud Darwish (lyricist), Mohammed Fairouz (lyricist), Fadwa Tuqan (lyricist)

Composer: Mohammed Fairouz

Format: 1 CD + 1 Pure Audio Blu-ray


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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 that combine the musical and textual backgrounds of the region, exalting the commonalities, and sharing a vision of unity and hope for peace. Combining massive musical forces with star powered soloists, this release —the second by Sono Luminus of works by this young composer called “an important new artistic voice” by The New York Times—delivers a musically, sonically, and spiritually engaging album that transcends culture or creed.

The opening work inspired by the Egyptian uprising, TAHRIR strips away vast cultural divides through the intertwining of Arabic modes and complex rhythmic patterns traditionally found in Arabic music with that of Jewish Klezmer Bands, delivered by world renowned clarinetist David Krakauer. The piece, which the Los Angeles Times praised as “an arresting tour de force” takes its name from the site where so many young voices were lifted up together in unity for change and provides musical proof of a deep commonality in the traditions that is overlooked due to deep-rooted stress between the two cultures.

Symphony No.3: Poems and Prayers is a poetic Middle Eastern journey scored for solo vocalists, large mixed chorus and orchestra. Leading the performance are GRAMMY®-award winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and critically acclaimed baritone David Kravitz. Commissioned by The Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development at Northeastern University, the symphony expresses ancient and modern texts ranging from the Aramaic Kaddish to modern Israeli and Arabic poetry by Mahmoud Darwish, Yehuda Amichai and Fadwa Tuqan. Opening with the powerful chorus in Kaddish delivered in Aramaic, moving to the hauntingly beautiful and poignant movement Lullaby (where Cooke is joined clarinetist David Krakauer), to the expression of frustration at the futility of war Memorial day for the War Dead, and the repeated call for peace throughout the work with the use of the text in Oseh Shalom, Poems and Prayers weaves together a narrative of shared loss and dispossession as well as hope and reconciliation.

Both works are delivered by the UCLA Philharmonia, joined in Poems and Prayers by the 170+ voices of the UCLA Choral and University Chorus, all under the direction of conductor Neal Stulberg and was recorded in historic Royce Hall on the UCLA campus.


Track List

Mohammed Fairouz
1.  Tahrir 10:16

Mohammed Fairouz
Lyricists: Yehudi Amichai, Mahmoud Darwish, Mohammed Fairouz, Fadwa Tuqan
Symphony No. 3, "Poems and Prayers"
2.  I. Kaddish 6:52
3.  II. Lullaby 5:43
4.  Minyan 7:13
5.  III. Night Fantasy 5:01
6.  Oseh Shalom 6:59
7.  IV. Memorial Day for the War Dead 28:30

Total time: 70:34
Release date: May 2014
UPC: 053479217721

Quotes & Reviews

In an age where hot-shot conductors and artists are hurriedly gathering Middle-Easterners to play music together (albeit generally well and with good intentions), it's refreshing to see a label pay tribute to someone who is writing music.

This is triumph, and arguably important on many levels.

Brian Wigman, Classical Net

The piece is quite substantial, and moving in parts, though I am still not quite convinced whether Fairouz is playing philosopher, poet, politico, or composer. The UCLA student forces do an admirable job in this difficult music navigated with authority by conductor Stulberg, while Sono Luminus has recorded it brilliantly.

Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

The orchestra and chorus are superb, and the rich recording captures the big sound impressively. This is a most unusual recording, highly recommended.

Robert Benson, Classical CD Review

A young man’s extraordinary effort to say what needs to be said, feel what needs to be felt and demonstrate what needs to be demonstrated about the Israeli and Palestinian morass in the Middle East.
— Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

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