Sunday, June 5, 2016

Alan Hovhaness - Majnun Symphony (Symphony No. 24, opus 273) - National Philharmonic Orchestra of London - John Alldis Choir - Alan Hovhaness, Conducting - Crystal Records 1987

Here is yet another beautiful Hovhaness symphony - it was originally released as a Lp in 1974 on Poseidon Society, Hovhaness's own label. Thankfully Crystal Records "rerecorded" the release digitally in 1987. This is another disc that has been flowing from my speakers lately. "The Sword-Wind" for plucked strings and strings alone that opens the second movement (the Symphony was recorded as "having" two movements, anyhow) is a short yet memorable dance in Hovhaness signature style, and like many such passages it never fails to send me soaring joyfully :) 

Hovhaness says this about the Majnun Symphony:

With its mystical or Sufi overtones, the love story embraces earthly love to Divine Love. Majnun, exiled from his beloved, wanders in the desert and, surrounded by jackals, writes her name in the sand. As he writes, his soul in trance approaches his beloved and Divine Beloved. The symphony is scored for tenor solo, mixed chorus SATB, solo trumpet, solo violin, and string orchestra. the trumpet sounds the impassioned note of Majnun's love for Layla, the distant beloved. The solo violin sounds the note of Layla and the visionary, or Angelic Beloved.

Majnun and Layla

The Majnun Symphony, No. 24 opus 273, was composed in July, 1973 in Seattle. It was commissioned by the International Center for Arid and Semi-arid Land Studies for Focus on the Arts at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas (quite the exotic commission for AH's exotic score???).
It was there, on January 25th, 1974 that the work was given its premiere with the composer conducting. The poem derives from the epic "Salaman and Absal" by the Persian poet Jami, and was translated by Edward Fitzgerald. It refers to the famous love story Majnun and Layla, the Romeo and Juliet of Persia and the Near East.    

The text used in the Symphony is as follows:

One who travelled in the desert
Saw Majnun where he was sitting
All alone like a magician
Tracing letters in the sand.
"O distracted lover, writing
What the sword-wind of the desert
Undeciphers so that no one
After you shall understand"
Majnun answer'd, "I am writing
Only for myself, and only Layla,
Writing in that word a volume
Over which forever poring,
From her very name I sip in fancy
Till I drink her lip"



Marcelo Lasta said...

Graaaaaaaaaaaaacias Tzadik,super Hovahnes,gracias,amigazo,tu amigo gaucho!!!!!!! Tapirman

Tzadik said...

El doctor T, lo maravilloso .... es la sinfonía Majnün nuevo para usted? Me sorprende si te puedo ofrecer cualquier música de nuestro querido Hovhaness que usted no ha oído!

su Tzadik

Toon van Dijk said...

Many thanks and regards from The Netherlands.
Veel dank en groeten uit Nederland.

Tzadik said...

And again :) Happy you are enjoying the Hovhaness.


Marcelo Lasta said...

Por cierto las Sinfonias que me gustaría escuchar aun no fueron grabadas como la 8 y la 67-the last-del gran Hovhaness,espero que pronto la graben,Mein GOTT,ABRAZO TZADIK,larga vida y prosperidad.

Tzadik said...

Doc Marcello estoy de acuerdo! Siempre estoy impaciente y esperando a que tales obras para ser revelado, y grabado! Me gustaría que se llevan a cabo al menos en concierto; hay tantos discos Hovhaness ahora (a diferencia de hace 20 años), sin embargo, no es frecuente que escucho de un concierto Hovhaness teniendo lugar - incluso de la radio que todavía se descuida :( Hay algunas excepciones, pero sobre todo es las grabaciones que simplemente * * han de poseer si quiere llegar a la altura de la belleza!

hermano Tzadik

stuey54 said...

link has expired?