Marcel Khalifé’s Arabian Concerto was premiered at the Inaugural Concert of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra on October 30, 2008.
This musical score, Arabian Concerto, inhabits its own time: a time of incipience and genesis—a musical time of the Arab East. And yet, in its Eastern temporality, it comprises a matrix of multiple temporalities that are dialectically enmeshed, having traversed a history of melting and melding. To dismantle it into its constituent elements is to disintegrate its mosaic portrait, so richly fed by diverse tributaries: the spirituality of the Old East, the heritage of Byzantium’s ecclesiastical outpouring, the magical touches of Persia’s music, the melancholy of ancient Iraq whose repository is the maqam, the rhythm of the Arabian desert, the ecstasy of the Turkish bashraf, the virile sonority of mountain songs, the ornate coloratura of Aleppo, and the breeze that blows from the lost Andalusian paradise.
Arabian Concerto resonates with an uninterrupted dialog with the musical time of the East, imitating many of its sonorities, delving in its details, slipping into its labyrinthine pathways, searching for a deep mystery.