Arabesque

The Music of the Three Musketeers | Xauen
By ANGELA SAWYER  |  February 26, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
insideTHE-MUSIC-OF-THE-THRE
Across the Arab world from the mid ’30s until the mid ’70s, Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum merged the magnetism of Elvis, the easy virtuosity of Ella Fitgerald, and the panache of Jackie O. It’s said that her voice could quiet bustling marketplaces from Algiers to Baghdad. The classic 1940s period of her career is now being excavated, and here the Arabesque ensemble brings the precision, polish, and bow ties usually reserved for Beethoven to the languid, sinewy lines and intricate percussion of these Egyptian neo-classical pieces. The focus is on three of the composers who contributed to Kulthum’s first wave of popularity, separating her from the pack by infusing her repertoire with upscale Western instruments, pious, florid poetry, and instrumental virtuosity. The works of Zakariyya Ahmad, Mohamed al-Qasabji, and Riyad al-Sunbati are reanimated with pristine contemporary production. But the cello, violin, oud, zither, and percussion also benefit from the experienced advice of master vocalist Youssef Kassab. It’s a performance powerful enough to transport you to another era.

Arabesque | Granoff Music Center, Tufts University, 20 Talbot Avenue, Somerville | March 4 | 617.627.2253
Related: Players and painted stage, Citadel of sound, Anat, Elvis, and Jenny, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Elvis Presley, Ludwig van Beethoven
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ANGELA SAWYER
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   ARABESQUE  |  February 26, 2008
    It’s a performance powerful enough to transport you to another era.
  •   BACHATA ROJA: ACOUSTIC BACHATA FROM THE CABARET ERA  |  December 10, 2007
    The bachata genre comes from the Dominican Republic, and since the 1980s it has become a globally popular party music.

 See all articles by: ANGELA SAWYER