Buhur (2008) for clarinet, violin, viola & cello

Buhur (2008)

Instrumentation: Clarinet, Violin, Viola & Cello

Duration 19 minutes

Commissioned by the Syria Trust for Development
Premiered by the Damascus Festival Chamber Ensemble
Damascus, Syria March 2008

Buy score & parts here.

Third Movement from Buhur.

View the score

Score and parts available through ECS Music.

Al-Ramal (The Running)

Al-Kamel (The Complete)

Al-Muttadarek (The Continuous)


Program Notes:

Buhur (2008) for clarinet and violin, viola and cello

Kareem Roustom (b. 1971)

This inspiration for this work came from my research into the connection of poetic meter and musical meter of the Near Eastern Arabic vocal repertoire known as the Muwashshahaat.  In studying this connection I began to see the inherent rhythmic structure of the Arabic poetry, known as the ‘urud, as it related to the musical setting.  These structures are derived from 16 poetic meters known as the buhur: the plural of the word “sea.”  Although none of the three movements in this work are based on any specific poems they are, however, based on the rhythmic patterns of three of the 16 buhur.  The music attempts to convey the emotions, or my interpretation of them, of the three buhur that are the basis of this work.  The melodic and harmonic materials are derived from loose interpretations of maqam (Arabic modal system).  It is a testament to these ancient Arab poetic structures that they can still inspire the imagination to explore their “seas” well over a thousand years after their creation.

Kareem Roustom

© 2008 Layali Music Publishing, BMI