Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Critical Models - Chamber Works Of Mohammed Fairouz

Fairouz,Mohammed / Fairouz,Mohammed
Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Sono Luminus   Catalog #: 92146  
Composer:  Mohammed Fairouz
Performer:  James OrleansVasko DukovskiThomas FlemingJonathan Engle,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lydian String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  


Notes and Editorial Reviews

In a Nico Muhly-esque declaration that is almost de rigueur among young composers nowadays, the website of Mohammed Fairouz promises that his music "straddles multiple worlds from the Sanskrit invocations of the Bagavad Gita, to the Latin Mass and Arabic music, minimalism, indie rock, romantic tonality, jazz, thorny modernism, musical theater, the avant-garde and other idioms."
 
There is certainly plenty of variety on offer on this debut monograph from Fairouz who is American-born and of Arabic descent. The four Airs for guitar are convivial tonal pieces that evoke, in Fairouz's words, Dowland and Andalusia. The last brief toccata is a tribute to Britten's classic Nocturnal after John
Read more Dowland. Lamentation and Satire is a vivid, arresting diptych for string quartet in which Fairouz comments on the political turmoil in the Middle East. The listener gets an abundance of ominously sombre colourings and feisty dissonant passages, but Fairouz's accompanying description of that part of the world as "over the edge" is harsh and naive.
 
The six Piano Miniatures - to which Fairouz has since added two more - are a motley collection of catchy, witty pieces that could almost have been written a century earlier. They cover and blend many different styles. The opening Litany, for the unusual pairing of double bass and wind quartet, is inspired by the Azan, the Arabic call to prayer, although such a description does not really do justice to its by turn jaunty and reflective neo-Classical sound. It is reminiscent at times of Stravinsky. A pity that it is not the first movement of a much longer work!
 
Beyond betokening a zealous publicity department at American label Dorian Sono Luminus, the five full-page photographs of Fairouz depict a young man of considerable seriousness, an impression underlined by the straitlaced-sounding title of the album, 'Critical Models'. No one should be censured for taking art music seriously and Fairouz's own booklet notes confirm that he does just that - but in a few corners of his music, as in the Piano Miniatures, lurk flashes of humour that widen his appeal.
 
The two remaining works pair the alto saxophone with piano and violin respectively. Three Novelettes is more or less a three-movement sonata, with contrasting moods and tempi. It radiates a fairly tuneful disposition. The music-theatre montage that brings the work to an almost riotous end is redolent of Darius Milhaud at his most mischievous. On the other hand, Four Critical Models finds Fairouz at his most serious - and possibly most compelling. The first and third movements are energetic 'Catchwords' that posit a certain philosophy of art, 'Modernist' and 'Orientalist'. The second and fourth movements offer considered responses to them in the form of 'Interventions'. There is no need to go into the politics here, beyond noting that Fairouz comments on the writings of Milton Babbitt, Theodor Adorno, Evelyn Baring and Edward Said. Suffice to say that the music is highly imaginative, with Fairouz applying a raft of styles to colourful and memorable effect.
 
Sound quality is very good. The booklet contains a black-and-white photo of every performer - but not a word of biography! That is a pity, because Fairouz needs musicians of quality like these for his music to be heard. Most on this disc are fairly young and relatively unknown - at the very least Sono Luminus might have given an appropriate weblink.
 
Overall, Fairouz's polystylism is surprisingly conservative for a composer whose music bestrides the "multiple worlds" listed above, yet is none the worse for it. In fact, its basis in 'old-fashioned' structure, tonality and melody means that he is likely to reach bigger and better audiences than the fickle cliques that cluster around the hyper-eclectic Muhlys of the world.
 
-- Byzantion, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Litany for Double Bass and Wind Quartet by Mohammed Fairouz
Performer:  James Orleans (Double Bass), Vasko Dukovski (Clarinet), Thomas Fleming (Bassoon),
Jonathan Engle (Flute), Claire Cutting (Oboe)
2.
Critical Models (4) by Mohammed Fairouz
Performer:  Ra Young Ahn (Violin), Michael Couper (Alto Saxophone)
3.
Miniatures (6) for Piano by Mohammed Fairouz
Performer:  Katie Reimer (Piano)
4.
Lamentation and Satire by Mohammed Fairouz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lydian String Quartet
5.
Novelettes (3) for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Mohammed Fairouz
Performer:  Michael Couper (Alto Saxophone), Katie Reimer (Piano)
6.
Airs for Guitar by Mohammed Fairouz
Performer:  Maarten Stragier (Guitar)

Sound Samples

Litany
4 Critical Models: I. Catchword: A Modernists' 'Dilemma'
4 Critical Models: II. Intervention: Une Musique Informelle
4 Critical Models: III. Catchword: An Oriental(ist) Model
4 Critical Models: IV. Intervention: A Dialectical Synthesis
Piano Miniature No. 1, "Nocturnal Snapshot"
Piano Miniature No. 2
Piano Miniature No. 3
Piano Miniature No. 4
Piano Miniature No. 5
Piano Miniature No. 6, "Addio"
Lamentation and Satire: I. Lamentation
Lamentation and Satire: II. Satire
3 Novelettes: No. 1. Cadenzas
3 Novelettes: No. 2. Serenade
3 Novelettes: No. 3. Dance Montage
Airs: I. Prelude
Airs: II. Fantasy
Airs: III. Intermezzo
Airs: IV. Toccata

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In