MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts


Mohammed Fairouz; photo by Samantha West

Mohammed Fairouz; photo by Samantha West

A notable premiere by composer Mohammed Fairouz is being given tonight by the Indianapolis Symphony: Zabur, to a libretto by Najla Said.

From Scott Shoger’s interview with the composer about this contemporary war requiem:


Zabur is the most persistently and overwhelmingly dark pieces that I’ve ever written, although it doesn’t end in that darkness. It ends in a wonderful image of children in the sunlight like the end of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. Sometimes as an artist, part of the job description is to go into psychological and emotional places that the rest of the world would avoid.


Zabur begins with a great outcry and destruction that proves to be a flash-forward or premonition of what will happen — that everyone in the shelter will be destroyed. I was debating with myself how to end the piece, but I decided to bring back the children’s choir to sing, “The children of your servants will live on forever.” It’s an absolutely heartbreaking ending, but with the sound of the children, you have this group of 100-some children in Indianapolis connecting artistically, in some way, to their brothers and sisters half a world away in Syria who are suffering. There’s something very moving about that.

Filed under: American music, new music


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