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