Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ramadan nights


Qawwali music at the shrine of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi after sunset last Saturday. My Ramadan nights are being spent at a Buddhist puja in Ladakh, a Sufi ritual in India, the Freiburg Opera Parsifal in Norwich, and, finally, at William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices in the beautiful church of St Peter and St Paul in Salle, Norfolk. At the Salzburg Summer Festival during Ramadan there are performances of Sufi chants by an Egyptian brotherhood, the premiere of a work celebrating the Sufi martyr Mansur al-Hallağ by the Palestinan-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi coupled with sacred music by Anton Bruckner and Hildegard von Bingen, and a presentation of Jordi Savall's inter-faith Bal·Kan: Honey and Blood project; it has been my privilege to write the programme essays for those three Salzburg concerts. The controversial Muslim cleric Abdalqadir as-Sufi (aka Ian Dallas) found in Parsifal "pure religion itself". Was Wagner a Sufi?

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