Words Adorned: The Concert

Al-Bustan is pleased to have presented the culminating event of Words Adorned to a full-house audience at Bryn Mawr College’s Goodhart Hall. Premiering two new works by Kareem Roustom and Kinan Abou-afach, the concert featured soloist Dalal Abu Amneh, Conductor Donald Nally, The Crossing, and Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble. It was a fabulous evening that began and ended with several traditional muwashshahat songs performed by Dalal and the Takht Ensemble, and in between included the newly commissioned works, Embroidered Verses and Of Nights and Solace, bridging the traditions of East and West. As Philadelphia Inquirer reporter David Patrick Stearns wrote in his review:

West met East on a lofty plateau. A fugue, something associated with cerebral moments in J.S. Bach, unfolded with customary correctness but in a thoroughly Arabic melody. The piece was Of Nights and Solace: Fantasia on Andalusian Muwashshah Poetry by Syrian-born, Philadelphia-based composer Kinan Abou-afach, heard in its world premiere at Bryn Mawr College’s Goodhart Hall, and was, to these ears, the moment when these two musical worlds came together on a new level. With microtonal Arabic scales, musical possibilities multiplied. The 12-tone western scales do good services, but are often engaged in the art of implying something beyond themselves. With 24 Arabic tones, implication isn’t so necessary.

Photos by Chip Colson: