Monday Music: Erbarme Dich – in Arabic (J.S. Bach)

Here’s something a little bit different for your Monday amusement.  Erbarme Dich is probably the most famous contralto aria from Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion.  It’s sung after Peter has denied Jesus three times, and, sung well, is an absolutely compelling portrayal of grief and guilt.  It’s also very firmly part of  theWestern musical canon.

So here it is, translated into Arabic.  And when I say translated, I’m not just talking about the lyrics – the style both of singing and playing has a decidedly middle-Eastern feel.  And it’s rather amazing.  The solo violin in this piece, as was pointed out to me recently, has a sound rather similar to Jewish liturgical Eastern European Jewish violin music, and this Eastern influence is brought very much to the fore here.

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Monday Music: The Cold Genius (Henry Purcell)

It was absolutely necessary that I find a counter-tenor song for today, since I’m still so very disappointed that Cezar‘s magnificent counter-tenor effort on Eurovision didn’t do better, but it’s after midnight as I schedule this, and I have to work tomorrow, so was really not up for trolling the internet in search of the perfect piece of music.

Fortunately, it turns out that I had, stashed away in my list of things to write about, Andreas Scholl singing the Aria “What Power art Thou”, also known as the song of the Cold Genius, from Purcell’s King Arthur. Continue reading

Monday Music: Flow my Tears (John Dowland)

I was up way too late last night, trying to get organised for the week ahead, and failing.  It is to weep.  And who better to weep with than John Dowland, the author of such cheery works as ‘Weep, O mine Eyes’, ‘Weep ye no more sad fountains’, ‘Lachrimae, or Seven Tears’, ‘I saw my lady weep’, and, of course, ‘Flow, my Tears’?

(I must admit, whenever I read my way down a list of Dowland song titles, I find myself becoming increasingly concerned for the man’s mental health.  He wasn’t a happy man, that’s for sure.)

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