CD|December 10, 2023

Follow, Poet

Mohammed Fairouz, Evan Rogister, Ensemble LPR, Kate Lindsey & Paul Muldoon

Album info

For the first release in the “Return to Language Series” of new recordings, UMC will release “Follow, Poet”, an album of works by Mohammed Fairouz. The new series intends to explore the connections and interactions of words and music, the exponential power of storytelling when words are joined with music. “Follow, Poet” includes two works by Mohammed Fairouz that are joined together by fragments of spoken word by John F. Kennedy as well as readings by the Pulitzer Prize winning Irish poet, Paul Muldoon. The four-part Audenesque – which in ways echoes orchestral songs by the likes of Mahler, Kurt Weill and others – sees Fairouz set to music the three sections of Auden’s “To the Memory of W.B. Yeats,” some of the final lines of which inspired the album’s title. In the final part of the work, the composer sets Seamus Heaney’s “Audenesque,” a poem that pays homage to both Auden and Joseph Brodsky (who was inspired by Auden to write his “Verses on the Death of T.S. Eliot”). The work is “a conversation” through time and art among Yeats, Eliot, Auden, Brodsky and Heaney. Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey sings. Fairouz based Sadat – a ballet for tuned percussion and chamber orchestra laced with elements of minimalism – on “snapshots” from the life of this complex, controversial Arab leader, from days as a revolutionary and stirring orator to those as peacemaker and, finally, his assassination. In particular, Sadat’s historic speech to the Israeli Knesset is invoked. The composer aimed “to use two of the oldest forms of human expression, percussion and dance, to tell his story to a new world.” Evan Rogister leads the Ensemble LPR on this recording.

Track List:

1. John F. Kennedy Speech 0:22

Mohammed Fairouz    Audenesque
2. I 6:21
3. II 2:55
4. III 4:04
5. IV 5:05

Seamus Heaney (1939 – )
6. Audenesque 3:46

7. John F. Kennedy Speech 0:51

Mohammed Fairouz    Sadat
8. July 23rd, 1952 5:57
9. Jehan 4:10
10. The Death Of Nasser /  The Leader 4:52
11. Jerusalem 3:41
12. The Day The Leader Was Killed 4:36

W.H. Auden
13. In Memory Of W.B. Yeats 2:29
14. In Memory Of W.B. Yeats II 0:56
15. In Memory Of W.B. Yeats III 1:23

Total Playing Time 51:28

“The players of Ensemble LPR perform with virtuosity and commitment throughout the song cycle and the ballet, under the clearly inspired leadership of Evan Rogister.”

Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News