Entertainment » Music

Fairouz: Native Informant

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Monday Apr 29, 2013
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Compared to Franz Schubert for both his musical maturity and his youth, Mohammed Fairouz (b. 1985) has already earned an impressive list of respected admirers from across the music world, from Gunther Schuller and Richard Danielpour to the Imani Winds and the Borromeo String Quartet.

"Native Informant," the Naxos American Classics’ new release of Fairouz’ compositions, shows an effective hybrid of influences, incorporating Fairouz’ international heritage with an accessibility that immediately engages the listener.

The anchor of this recording is the 24-minute title track, a sonata in five movements for solo violin, featuring the virtuoso playing of Rachel Barton Pine. "Native Informant" tells various tales through Pine’s amazing performance, from an "art song with secret lyrics" ("Lyric Sketch") and an Arabic round ("Rounds") to two historical perspectives ("For Egypt" and "Lullaby of the ex-Soldat"). Though the themes of the individual movements are separate, Pine’s passionate playing unifies them into an enticing work from this proficient soloist.

"Jebel Lebnan" ("Mount Lebanon") was commissioned by the Imani Winds, and musically talks of events from the Lebanese Civil War from the 1970’s and 1980’s through five tales with topics as diverse at Bashir Gemayel ("Bashir’s March"), the leader of the Lebanese Phalange Party, to "Ariel’s Song," a tribute to those who lost their lives during the conflict.

Vocal works in this collection include "Tahwidah" ("Lullaby" in Arabic), based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), performed by David Krakauer on clarinet and the pristine soprano of Mellissa Hughes, who continues to make a name for herself within the new music community; "Posh." a song-cycle comprised of three poems by Wayne Koestenbaum from his collection, "Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films," and "For Victims," two scenes for baritenor and string quartet with texts by David Shapiro.

Fairouz’ source material span cultures and ethnicities to epitomize an equitable perspective on this album.

"Native Informant"
Mohammed Fairouz
CD and digital formats
Naxos American Classics

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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