Majnun and Layla

I’ve been finding some musical gems online, especially some obscure Alan Hovhaness symphonies. One that’s vaulted to near the top of my list is the 24th.

It’s long for one of this composer’s symphonies (over forty-seven minutes), and rarely among all symphonic works it includes a chorus. Also tenor soloist. Plus trumpet and violin are featured as well.

The story it depicts is a traditional Persian romance. The music is moving and passionate. I know Hovhaness wrote operas. This could have been a good one. I needn’t complain–this work is extremely enjoyable, suggestive slightly of a few other western composers, but with that distinctive Middle Eastern feel of this Armenian-American composer.

One thing I didn’t know about the story behind it: Eric Clapton also used it to inspire his ode to Pattie Boyd. Here’s to music of the 70’s!

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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