Shubho Lhaw Qolo means “glory to the voice” in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ. The music is inspired by an adapted Christmas hymn by St. Ephrem the Syriac who lived in the fourth century. Modern settings of the text are commonly sung by Christian communities in both Aramaic and Arabic around Christmas season throughout the Middle-East.
One of the great powers and mysteries of music is that it can leave us feeling that musical time transcends clock time. Shubho Lhaw Qolo explores notions of timelessness as well as concurrent temporalities and directionalities. The notation reflects the superimposed, independent temporalities which operate at once in the music, thus barlines are not always shared by all instruments. The different time-layers integrate and interact with one another throughout the music, just as the different playing techniques do. Throughout the piece, different sounds come in and out of focus; textures, like colors, bleed into each other. The soloist and the orchestra operate on different and independent sonic universes at the beginning, however, as the piece progresses, they approach integration right up to the final cadence where they finally commune with my own re-harmonization of the classic “Amen”.