Fragments: Three Songs of Hope (Song 2 audio)


The second song in the set of three, Love, is an excerpt from one of the many anonymous Majnun and Leila love poems of the Arab Caliphate era of the Middle East, perhaps in the 8th century.

How can pain be softened?  Too much loss- I tremble.

Love is a small bird, tied by a child, sipping the lake of death.

The child goes on with his game mindless of the bird’s pain

And the wings that cannot fly.

In this world there are a thousand roads.

But without a heart, where can one go?

I am particularly proud of the last line! This piece seemed to call for almost stasis- paralysis of emotion- near the beginning. The piano holds notes too long for a piano- they decay helplessly. A bit of “arabesque” in the melody is, I hope, not too broad here- it seemed appropriate to allude to the cultural music of the area using the ubiquitous “surna” oboe which is prominent across Central Asia. Each phrase seems to run out of words as though there are none for this circumstance.

See the next post for the final song of the set.


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