Monday, November 01, 2010

Arabic Ghazals and German Reqiuem

My divan of 49 ghazals "A Lover's Recourse" appears in At Length. Edited by Jonathan Farmer, the online magazine specializes in publishing long poems. "A Lover's Recourse" is long enough to swim in. And, I hope, deep enough to sink into.

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Yesterday TB and I heard Brahm's Ein deutsches Requiem (1865-68) performed by the Dresden Staatskapelle, conducted by Daniel Harding, and sung by Christiane Karg (soprano), Matthias Goerne (baritone) and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. Instead of using the Requiem Mass of Catholic liturgy, Brahms set to music text from Scripture: "Blessed are they that mourn," "Thus all flesh is like grass," "Lord, make me to know," "How lovely are Thy tabernacles," "Ye now therefore have sorrow,' "For here have we no continuing city," and "Blessed are the dead."

Movement Two, originally conceived as part of his early Piano Concerto, and then rescored as an elegy for Robert Schumann, was particularly affecting. As was Movement Six. The timpanist played almost like a soloist in Movement Two. Paul Schiavo, in the program note, compares the structure of the work to a Gothic arch, the fourth movement acting as the keystone. On the basis of this work, Brahms was elevated into the front ranks of European composers.

The concert was part of the new White Light Festival organized by Lincoln Center. According to the program write-up, the festival underscores "the diverse philosophical approaches to discovering, defining, and expressing spirituality." I will be listening to Bach and Arvo Pärt as well as the Manganiyars from Rajasthan.

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