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Abu-Bakr Kha´rat - Second Symphony


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Author Topic: Abu-Bakr Kha´rat - Second Symphony  (Read 768 times)
guest54
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« on: May 13, 2014, 02:51:23 pm »

The next item in my random selection happens to be Abu-Bakr Kha´rat's symphony number two in G minor opus 21, the "Folkloristic", which was written in 1955. The composer's life spanned the period from 1910 to 1963, and he was born in Cairo. The recording was contributed by Holger.

So, I do not intend to say very much at all about this work, simply because it does not really appeal. Although written in 1955, the style is that of the German composers who lived before Mendelssohn - one of Beethoven's less competent contemporaries perhaps. The harmony marches from tonic to dominant and back again and - believe it or not - does not do much else; Mozart would have been amused. The principal interest for me lies in the Arabic melodies that are introduced here and there. We are told in the liner notes that "in this symphony the composer eliminated the oriental instruments of weak sonority, as well as the use of intervals of one-quarter and three-quarters tones." Well my personal view is that the work would have been better served had he retained all those elements. . . . Anyway, after writing all that, I now see that my sub-Beethoven idea has already been well and truly discussed in the thread referenced below!

http://artmusic.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,707.0.html
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Gauk
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 06:08:32 pm »

I'm not sure that "folkloristic" is a real word. I have only ever heard it used by people whose first language is not English.
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guest54
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 01:42:04 am »

. . . I have only ever heard it used by people whose first language is not English.

Frenchmen perhaps. Without giving it much thought I vaguely translated this term from Grove's, which actually has the French: "La folklorique." I just assumed that it referred to folk-music; although I had never heard of Arabic folk-music before. But having read Gauk's post I realize that the "lore" part is the strange part, because "folklore" does not mean music at all, rather tales and legends - "the traditional beliefs, legends, and customs, current among the common people; the study of these."

Grove's lists among his works not only this symphony but also a "Suite folklorique," which they refer to further down the page as "Al-Mutatābia'a al sha'abiyyah [Folk Suite]." But his things do seem to be about folk music rather than folk lore. "He searched," writes Mr. Samha el Kholy in Grove's, "for a national idiom, interesting himself in some aspects of urban folk music. This resulted in, among other works, the colourful Second Symphony 'La folklorique' in G minor op.21, where in the second movement he used the tune of a 'stick dance' and in the third the 'handkerchief dance' popular at Alexandrian weddings. He came closer to the Egyptian spirit in choral orchestral works, such as Lamma bada (performed under MŘnch at the opening concert in the Darwish hall), a polyphonic version of the ancient monodic mūwashshah."

And yes, the word "folkloristic" does exist. Indeed the O.E.D. lists:

folklore
folk-lore
folkloric
folklorish
folklorism
folklorist
folkloristic
folkloristics

But no "folkloristical" I am sorry to say.
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Gauk
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 11:25:49 am »

I was sufficiently intrigued to give this piece a listen. I completely agree with everything Sydney says about it. Matters are not helped by the lacklustre performance and terrible wow off the old Jugoton LP.

All the same, a curiosity, and it would be fun to play this to someone as an "innocent ear" challenge to see where they would place it in musical history.
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Holger
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 04:11:56 pm »

No doubt that this piece (as also the Third - I think I uploaded it as well) cannot claim to be anything but an oddity. It's a very clumsy attempt to mix (pretty much softened) folk music influences with an outdated version of Western European tradition (probably from late 18th century or so) - while it has to be said that Khairat also doesn't master this style at all. This is even more obvious in the Third Symphony which is less about incorporating folk music (so that Khairat's very rudimental skills get even more glaring).

The idea of playing this without giving any information about what it actually is is nice. My guess is that the obvious deficits of the music might prevent an experienced listener from attributing it to a special epoch, in other words I could well imagine it should be possible to guess that this is not necessarily music by a Beethoven contemporary but just by somebody (from an unspecified later point of time) attempting to compose in a very unskilled way.

I also have a symphony by a Palestine composer which is similarly bad. The Soviet composers from Central Asia were in general really so much more successful with integrating Muslim music traditions into Western models.

In the end, the only argument for listening to stuff like the Khairat is being curious about the beginning of a music (and in particular composers) scene of Western type in countries like Egypt, and actually (besides the fact that somebody directly requested the music if I remember correctly) this is also the reason why I uploaded it.

Yes, sound is bad, but I am not that much bothered by it: if it was a fine piece I wouldn't care about this too much.
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guest54
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 10:44:22 am »

Twenty years ago I used to turn on Radio Cairo occasionally. The music was mostly singing; I suppose it could be called Arabic popular songs. A whole world of musical gestures utterly different from everything to which we are - or at least I am - accustomed. Of course much the same can be said of Greek popular songs, Roumanian ditto, Turkish ditto, Iranian ditto, Indian, Burmese . . . When we come to Thai, Malay or Cantonese the music becomes more approachable again.
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Gauk
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 05:14:12 pm »

For an example of Arabic music successfully integrated into a symphonic work, I suggest the works of the Lebanese composer Walid Gholmieh. His first symphony "Al Qadissiya" (Faith) is a huge four-movement work, almost 68 minutes in length. This Mahlerian-length work is anything but Mahlerian in character. If anything, I would describe the style as a fusion of Hovhaness and Berlioz! It's a skillfully-wrought work and deserves a hearing.
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2014, 06:11:07 pm »

For an example of Arabic music successfully integrated into a symphonic work, I suggest the works of the Lebanese composer Walid Gholmieh. His first symphony "Al Qadissiya" (Faith) is a huge four-movement work, almost 68 minutes in length. This Mahlerian-length work is anything but Mahlerian in character. If anything, I would describe the style as a fusion of Hovhaness and Berlioz! It's a skillfully-wrought work and deserves a hearing.
I totally agree..Gholmieh is quite under-rated and under-played.
A Utube search brings up a handfull of his symphonies..
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Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2014, 12:36:02 am »

For an example of Arabic music successfully integrated into a symphonic work, I suggest the works of the Lebanese composer Walid Gholmieh. His first symphony "Al Qadissiya" (Faith) is a huge four-movement work, almost 68 minutes in length. This Mahlerian-length work is anything but Mahlerian in character. If anything, I would describe the style as a fusion of Hovhaness and Berlioz! It's a skillfully-wrought work and deserves a hearing.
I totally agree..Gholmieh is quite under-rated and under-played.
A Utube search brings up a handfull of his symphonies..

I've seen that they published Gholmieh's cd coffret:

http://www.tagorg.com/page.aspx?page_key=music_patronages&keywords=gholmieh
.
Best
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2014, 12:43:24 am »

I'm not sure that "folkloristic" is a real word. I have only ever heard it used by people whose first language is not English.
Si, Amigo!!
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Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2018, 12:51:04 am »

New Concert and Cd on Abubakr Khairat
http://shaimaa-keephuntingphotos.blogspot.com/2018/03/blog-post_25.html
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