Commissioned by concert organist Katelyn Emerson in 2016, I decided to compose my latest organ piece on an Islamic theme. I am contemplating the possibility to expanding into an "Islamic Suite" for organ.
"Azaan" is the Islamic call to prayer, sung five times a day to remind Muslims of the obligatory prayers each day. I was drawn to the ornamented, improvised nature of this type of singing that often has very high emotional and expressive power. My piece is not based on any particular azaan, rather, it captures its fanfare-like character at the opening, its passion and emotional drive in the middle section.
I was also tremendously inspired by the 11th century Syrian poet, Abu Al-Ma'arri who wrote verses that are just as relevant today as were a thousand year ago!
Traditions come from the past, of high import if they be True;
Ay, but weak is the chain of those who warrant their truth.
Consult thy reason and let perdition take others all:
Of all the conference Reason best will counsel and guide.
A little doubt is better than total credulity:-- Al-Ma'arri Here is a preview recording of my piece: