SONGS OF TRANSFORMATION

Composer: 

Print Edition Price: 

$11.50 first copy; additional copies for performance, call for prices

Year Authored (or revised): 

2009

Instrumentation : 

SATB choir, with Persian Ney, or Alto Flute

Duration (min): 

15

Movements-Titles: 

I. "Kashti-ye bâdeh"
II. "The Earth lifts its glass.."

Text Source/Author: 

Farsi texts by Poems by Hafiz; "A Crystal Rim" from the Penguin publication The Gift, copyright 1999 Daniel Ladinsky and used with his permission.

First Performance: 

December 5, 2009 at Macalester College, St. Paul, with Hossein Omoumi, guest artist

Composer's note:

Songs of Transformation, commissioned by Dr. Eugene Rogers for the Macalester College Choir, is inspired by the poetry of the 14th-century Persian poet Hâfez and the music of Hossein Omoumi.   

The first song, Kashti-ye bâdeh, is an arrangement of Professor Omoumi's original composition "Gusheh-ye Kereshmeh."  The second song "The Earth lifts its glass..," a setting of "A Crystal Rim" by the contemporary poet Daniel Ladinsky, juxtaposes the choral setting with the ney/flute solo, arranged by Hossein Omoumi.  Both texts are centered in Sufi philosophy.

The Persian musical form Kereshmeh  is structured on a repeating rhythmic pattern which mirrors the poetic structure of Hâfez’s  ghazal.  In this ghazal, the word  “andâz”   (launch/ put forth) ends each verse.   Persian melody is created from special  melodic modes called dastgahs.    Professor Omoumi’s setting is in the dastgah  Homâyun.  This choral arrangement is in six movements and sung in Farsi.

The second song,  “The earth lifts its glass…,” a setting of “A Crystal Rim” by the contemporary poet Daniel Ladinsky,  juxtaposes the choral setting of the Ladinsky text with the ney/flute setting of the Masnavi, a freely flowing melody arranged by Professor Omoumi based on the poem known as the Masnavi of Rumi –“Aasheghi peydaast az zaari ye del” (Love shows itself in the way the heart weeps.)  Ladinsky’s poetry is inspired by Hâfez; thus the two choral settings interlock as one work centering on Sufi philosophy.  In the Sufi poetry of Hâfez, wine is the symbol for learning and knowledge; the metaphors of wine and love are used to convey spiritual messages.  Therefore, what is important is love, sacrifice, service and tolerance.

Songs of Transformation was premiered on December 5, 2009 at Macalester College, St. Paul, with Hossein Omoumi, guest artist. 

For more information about the music of Hossein Omoumi see www.omoumi.com.

The arrangements of Gusheh-ye-Kereshmeh and Masnavi are used with permission.

Note:   A CD of the pronunciation of the Farsi text is supplied with the score. The alto flute represents the Persian ney with melodic improvisation based on the Persian dastgahs and exploration of timbres including microtones.  The length of the work is from 12-15 minutes.

Ensemble Type: 

choral accompanied

Documents: 

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