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Maroc :Musique Classique Andalou-Maghrébine

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 ·

Given the long and complex nature of Moroccan classical music, or the Andalou-Mahgrebine, the compilers of this volume on the state of the tradition since 822, have centered themselves on one form of music, the nawbat, which is ostensibly a suite of songs in five movements with differing time signatures. Each movement comprises a series of poems (each one being a san'a of two, five, or seven lines) sung over different melodies. A single movement of the nawbat may contain over 40 san'a! There are purely instrumental passages as well, which serve as preludes or interludes, and in some cases even etudes. The center of each nawba is a melodic mode, which influences from the start all other melodies, harmonic restrictions, and architectures, etc. Modes can be introduced that differ, but they must contain the root of the original within them. Other rules governing the nawbat are occasions and the hours of the day when they are to be performed. In antiquity, there were 24 full nawbat. There remain only four complete ones and seven fragmentary. The full nawbat are rarely performed, as several hours is required to complete the cycle. What this disc features is a fragmentary nawbat as conceived by Morocco's authority and producer of such performances al-Haj'abd al-Krim al-Rayis, entitled "min wahi al-rabab." The poems tell stories of love, passion, and devotion to the prophet Mohammed and the desire for Divine Union. Interestingly, unlike in other Moslem societies, physical love is not left out of the cycle and in the singer's voices along with the oud, tar, violin, viola, cello, qanun. Rabab and other instruments, the singers' voices are intoxicated with their texts in the face of the music, and become enrapt, their voices cracking and groaning in pleasure and devotion as they whir and whirl around their instrumental counterparts. Though there are no translations in the booklet of the poems, it's just as well; the poetry and wondrous mystery is in the sound itself. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide


[01]. Nûba - Al-Hijâz Al-Kabîr
[02]. Nûba - Al-'Istihlâl


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