DEC 12 / 8:00 PM

The Antonine University Classical Arabic Music Ensemble

Directed by Nidaa Abou Mrad 

4000 Years of Music in the Mašriq

Université Antonine Classical Arabic Music Ensemble

Nidaa Abou Mrad, conception, direction, kemantšēh and violin

Mohammad Ayach, chanting and ‘ūd; Hayaf Yassine, lyre and sanṭūr; Ghassan Sahhab, qānūn; Sleiman Abou Hannoud (Syria) and Rafca Rizk, chanting

“4000 Years of Music in the Mašriq” is a historical musical journey related to the Mašriq territory, with a focus on Nativity texts. It includes an Ugarit hymn from the second millennium BC, ancient Christmas hymns from Syriac Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Rūm Orthodox ecclesiastical traditions, musical pieces from Abbassid Era, chanting mystical poems by Saint Ephrem (303-373) Rābi‘a al-‘Adawiyya (717-796), Muḥyī d-Dīn ibn ‘Arabī (1164-1245) and ‘Omar ibn al-Fāriḍ (1181-1234), in the Nahḍā (Arab Renaissance) tradition style. This concert is performed by members of the Université Antonine Classical Arabic Music Ensemble, who are involved in practicing a hermeneutical approach of musical traditions, through their work at the Faculty of Music and Musicology at Université Antonine, under the supervision of Dean Nidaa Abou Mrad.

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Concert Program

  1. The sixth Hurrian Song (H6), from the legacy of Ugarit Kingdom (Ra’s Šamra – Latakia, circa 1500 BC) in Hurrian language, written in cuneiform character. It is the first musical notation in the history. It was decoded by the British scholar Pr. Richard Dumbrill.
  2. Syriac Maronite and Syriac Orthodox Christmas hymn “Praise the Word”, attributed to Saint Ephrem the Syriac.
  3. Ṭarīqa (prelude) and ṣawt (song) in Nawrūz mode on ramal cycle by Ṣafiy a-d-Dīn al-Urmawī (1230-1294), notation decoded by Nidaa Abou Mrad.
  4. Ṭarīqa and ṣawt in Ḥusaynī mode on ramal cycle by Nidaa Abou Mrad in the Abbassid, improvised and composed on a Sufi poem (“Religion of Love”) by Muḥyī d-Dīn ibn ‘Arabī.
  5. Rūm Orthodox Christmas hymn “Christ is born”, in the first ecclesiastical mode.
  6. Taḥmīla (instrumental responsorial improvisation) in Rāst mode, according to Mīḫā’īl Maššāqa (1800-1888) Rāst melody and to Sami Chawa (1885-1965) traditional style.
  7. Vocal improvisation in Rāst mode on a Sufi poem (about “Two loves”) by Rābi‘a al-‘Adawiyya, in the Nahḍa musical tradition measured cantillation style of qaṣīda on waḥda.
  8. Instrumental improvisation in Sīkāh mode, according to Mīḫā’īl Maššāqa’s Sīkāh melody, and vocal improvisation in Sīkāh mode on a Sufi poem by ‘Omar ibn al-Fāriḍ, in the non-measured cantillation style of qaṣīda according to Nahḍa musical tradition.
  9. Instrumental improvisation in Ḥijāz mode, according to Mīḫā’īl Maššāqa’s Ḥijāz melody, and vocal improvisation in Ḥijāz mode on a Christmas mystical poem by Saint Ephrem the Syriac, in the non-measured cantillation style of qaṣīda.
  10. Vocal improvisation in Sīkāh mode on a Nativity Sufi poem by Muḥyī d-Dīn ibn ‘Arabī, in the measured cantillation style of qaṣīda on waḥda cycle, in Nahḍa musical tradition.