Friday, January 11, 2013

Persian Poet Khayyam and Music

Tony Gatlif pays homage to the Persian poet, Khayyam Nayshaburi, at the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music.

It is an impressive performance for its multilingual and harmonious performances, all indicative of the universality of Khayyam's message.

There is however some chanting that is not part of Khayyam's poetry and is somewhat contrary to the Khayyam's poem highlighted on the program's website: "Sois heureux un instant. Cet instant c'est ta vie." This Zoroastrian concept is more reflected in the final parts of the performance when the music takes on a happier rhythm.  

Here are a few lines of Khayyam's poetry as rendered by Fitzgerald that convey his meanings very well.

Wake! For the Sun who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strikes
The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.

Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
“Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?”

Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow’s Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

(From Omar Khayyam, The Astronomer-Poet Of Persia, By Edward Fitzgerald)

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