Daily Classical Music Post
The name of the month of March comes from ancient Rome; it is named for Mars, the god of war. My posts this month will have a battle or war theme.http://grooveshark.com/s/Symphonie+Op+37+Les+Ruines+De+Beyrouth+III+Poetico/54U3Sx?src=5
The Franco-Lebanese composer Bechara El-Khoury (born 1957) has won many prizes for his (mainly symphonic) compositions. Although he left Lebanon in 1979, most of his works are about his homeland, particularly the Lebanese Civil War.
Op. 37, composed in 1985, is subtitled "Les ruines de Beyrouth" (The ruins of Beirut). This is the third of his compositions inspired by the outbreak of the war in 1975; the first two are his Symphonic Poem No. 1, Op. 14 "Le Liban en flammes" (Lebanon in flames) and the Requiem, Op. 18 "À la mémoire des martyrs libanais de la guerre" (In memory of the Lebanese war martyrs), which were both written in 1980.
Gérald Hugon says of "Les ruins de Beyrouth": "The symphony was composed in 1985 and although it reflects the genre’s typical four-part scheme, the individual movements make no use of traditional structures or means of development. Instead, each has the air of a lyric poem, a mosaic of feelings which constantly contrasts a consideration of the tragic rift, a work of collective folly, with the artist’s intimate thoughts, man’s expression when confronted with the event in his existential solitude. Curiously enough, a certain stridency and the dramatic rôle allotted to silence are reminiscent of the twelve-tone Schoenberg of the 1930s, of Moses und Aron, but here the chromatic language is completely free. The first movement (206 bars), with its frequent tempo changes, is the most fully developed of the four, and is unified by an endlessly varied leitmotif on the clarinets. It goes far beyond anything else El-Khoury has written in its variety of soundscapes, its rapidly changing emotions, and the opposition created between internal revolt and expression of horrified meditation. The tormented atmosphere created by sombre chromaticisms and sudden tutti bursts from the brass ultimately fades into a desolate clarinet solo, scarcely coloured by discreet bassoon and horn interventions, a contemplation of disaster. The second movement, Misterioso in 5/4 time, acts as a scherzo (96 bars) and its choreographic nature can be glimpsed from time to time, although it is not free from dramatic gesture, as for example in the brief central section. The Poetico (68 bars) is the lyrical heart of the score, the poet’s voice, and the composer’s, far removed from the heavy atmosphere of the first part of the work. This is a translucent interlude rather than an ample slow movement. The Tragique finale (144 bars) comes back to earth and its music is both vehement and unpretentious: it could take a place alongside Shostakovich’s and MartinÛ’s memorials to places devastated by war. The concluding Lirico section, for strings alone, finishes in calm, like a ray of hope, on a D major chord."
My classical music post for today is the third movement of El-Khoury's Symphonie,