Title - 'Follow, Poet'
Artist - Mohammed Fairouz
For those not in the know, and that means be (before I was warmly greeted by the incredible tones of this music for review), Mohammed Fairouz, born in just 1985, is one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of his generation.
Hailed by The New York Times as “an important new artistic voice” and by BBC World News as “one of the most talented composers of his generation,” Fairouz integrates Middle-Eastern modes into Western structures, to deeply expressive effect.
Follow, Poet is the inaugural release for a new series of recordings titled Return to Language, which will explore the artful blending of words and music. The series was conceived by Universal Music Classics president/CEO Elizabeth Sobol, a lifelong lover of literature. "I believe in cultivating a respect and love for depth of language and reflection and expression, even in the age of Twitter and YouTube when some of that seems in danger of being eroded," she says. "And it has always been the interrelatedness of literature and music that has touched me most deeply in art the exponential power of storytelling when you join words and music."
Indeed, this album is not only Fairouz's UMC/DG debut, but also the recording debuts for both mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and conductor Evan Rogister. They come together seamlessly as they combine to explore Audenesque and Sadat, where each exalt the transformative power of language through different means: one poetic, one oratorical.
In Audenesque, Fairouz sets verse by the great 20th-century English poet W.H. Auden and late Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney; with Sadat, the composer evokes in an instrumental work the stirring life-story of slain Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
Follow, Poet finds woven within itself, among the musical recordings on the album, readings of the Auden and Heaney by Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon and fragments of spoken word by John F. Kennedy from one of his less-well-known speeches.