MOHAMMED FAIROUZ (b.1985): Symphony No. 3 for Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra "Poems and Prayers", Tahrir for Clarinet and Orchestra. Sono Luminus CD + Blu-ray Audio disc.
Catalogue Number: 06P095
Label: Sono Luminus
Description: Fairouz' huge, and hugely ambitious, symphony tackles one of the most vexing and complex issues of our time - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - in a work that mourns the conflict, honours the dead and prays for peace through the medium of poetry and music. Opening with the Kaddish, and incorporating Palestinian poetry, the work does not shy away from the tragic, implacable oppositions inherent in its subject, and this is reflected in the tensions between the styles in Fairouz' remarkable polyglot musical vocabulary. Clearly audible influences are as diverse as Mahler, Britten, Shostakovich, Bernstein and Glass - thus, a broadly neo-romantic idiom, tonal and entirely accessible - but constantly inflected by the modalities of Arabic and Jewish scales and idiomatic borrowings from traditional performance practice, resulting in a highly personal style, uniquely suited to expressing the emotional resonances of the work's message. By the end of the huge finale - almost as long as the other five movements together - with its lamentation, warlike outbursts, and final prayer for peace against an apparently unresolvable background of despair, the work has achienved a shattering and unforgettable effect. Tahrir - 'freedom' is an immensely attractive, jaunty clarinet concerto with a gritty, underlying tension summed up in its klezmer-inflected Arabic maqam and slightly demented incessant motion - brilliantly achieving entertainment and provocation at the same time. Hebrew, Arabic-English texts. Sasha Cooke (mezzo), David Kravitz (baritone), David Krakauer (clarinet), UCLA Chorale, UCLA University Chorus, UCLA Philharmonia; Neal Stulberg.