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The first time I heard Arabic oud was while watching my then- belly dance hero, Rachel Brice, dance live for the first time. She performed a gooey, wonderfully slow dance to what I thought was a flamenco guitar piece. Later I asked her what that guitar tune was and she had no idea what I was talking about… most likely because I had the instrument wrong.

This piece reminds me of that thing I loved so much about that first oud tune I heard. The musician is Saïd Chraïbi, a Moroccan oud player who recently passed. I’m in love with his musicianship and composition style.

I rarely get smitten with lyrics… usually it’s Leonard Cohen that does this to me, but I found a new one. New to me, anyway, since I tend to keep my head under a rock when it comes to main stream radio tunes.  I love these lyrics (and the song) so much, I just can’t help myself, I need to put them here.

Boys workin’ on empty
Is that the kinda way to face the burning heat?
I just think about my baby
I’m so full of love I could barely eat
There’s nothing sweeter than my baby
I’d never want once from the cherry tree
‘Cause my baby’s sweet as can be
She give me toothaches just from kissin’ me

When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her

That’s when my baby found me
I was three days on a drunken sin
I woke with her walls around me
Nothin’ in her room but an empty crib
And I was burnin’ up a fever
I didn’t care much how long I lived
But I swear I thought I dreamed her
She never asked me once about the wrong I did

When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her

When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her

My baby never fret none
About what my hands and my body done
If the Lord don’t forgive me
I’d still have my baby and my baby would have me
When I was kissing on my baby
And she put her love down soft and sweet
In the lowland plot I was free
Heaven and hell were words to me

When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her

When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her

This piece of music sinks me each time I hear it. It’s completely poetic.

The composer is Stelios Petrakis, the album is Orion. The music comes out of Crete, Greece. Enjoy.

A romantic piece of music for you (maybe.. not for everyone)

thanks, flynn!

Here are a few snippets of where my head has been lately, musically speaking. I’ve been working on cello ~ classical lessons distracted by Arabic ornamentation… and Cretan lyra (no lessons) inspired by some of the following brilliance.

and

This last one is a traditional piece from Azerbaijan called “Ay Giz.” Played in this style, it’s particularly fabulous.

Enjoy.

Please listen if you have 20 minutes. Listen carefully.

Recorded live and outdoors at Niavaran Palace in Tehran, Iran 2003.

Hossein Alizadeh & Djivan Gasparyan – Endless Vision. Persian And Armenian Songs

Birds – Composed By, Arranged By — Hossein Alizahdeh
Lyrics By [Poem] — M. Azad

Live recording of 2 world-renown artists, Hossein Alizadeh from Iran and Djivan Gasparyan from Armenia, recorded outdoors in Tehran on September 4-6, 2003 before an audience of 12,000. They were accompanied by Vazgen Markaryan (bass duduk), Afsaneh Rasaee (vocal), Hoorshid Biabani (vocal), Armen Ghazaryan (duduk), Ali Boustan (shurangiz), Mohammadreza Ebrahimi (ud), Ali Samadpour (dammam, udu, vocal) and Behzad Mirzaee (daf, tombak).

Duduk — Armen Ghazaryan
Duduk [Bass Duduk] — Vazgen Markaryan
Duduk [Double Reed Woodwind], Vocals — Djivan Gasparyan
Ensemble — Hamavayan Ensemble
Executive Producer — Isabel Soffer
Lute [Shurangiz – New Iranian Lute] — Hossein Alizahdeh
Producer, Liner Notes — Hossein Alizahdeh
Translated By — Geneviève Bégou, Zara Houshmand

This is Anna Netrebko & Elina Garanca singing “Barcarolle” from “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” a French opera composed by Jacques Offenbach and first performed in 1881.

The voices of Netrebko and Granaca are breathtaking.  Combined, they are… well… here they are:

This really just doesn’t get old.

 

 

Hallelujah (Original by Leonard Cohen)

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

From the Internet Cello Society:

Gaspar Cassado was a Spanish contemporary of Pablo Casals, who lived from 1897 to 1966. In fact, he may have been Casal’s youngest pupil, when he studied with him in Paris in 1910. He was born in Barcelona, the son of a church musician. His father started teaching him music when he was five, and at the age of seven he began cello lessons with a prominent Barcelona cellist, who worked at the Mercedes Chapel with his father.

When Cassado was nine years old, he played his first public performance, where he was heard by Casals, who immediately offered to give him lessons. He was given a scholarship by the city of Barcelona to go to Paris and study with Casals there. He also studied composition with Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel.

At the end of World War I, Cassado started touring internationally, and became a world famous cellist. He played under most of the leading conductors of his time, including such greats as Furtwangler, Beecham and Weingartner. His performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with Joseph Szigeti was especially appreciated.

Cassado loved Italy, and settled in Florence, where he lived for over thirty years. As a cellist he was more austere and noble, than flamboyant in his approach. He was a good composer, and his pieces are still played today, in particular his Requiebros, and his Concerto in D Minor, which he dedicated to Casals.

In 1964 Cassado premiered six unpublished cello sonatas of Boccherini, and performed them on a Strad cello that was once owned by the composer. Eve Barsham, his accompanist, had discovered the manuscripts in the archives of the Duke of Hamilton in Scotland. Cassado died in 1966 of a heart attack, after a strenuous tour of a flood stricken area of Florence where he was raising funds for those who had been devastated by the natural catastrophe.

Musings

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