The works of Syrian composer Abed Azriť occupy a space where legend and poetry meet. Both Middle Eastern music and visionary texts inspire Azriť. In his past works, he has composed melodies based on the Gilgamesh epic, Sufi poetry, the work of Persian poet Omar Kayyam and contemporary Arabic poetry. On Venessia, Azriť is inspired by the poetry of one of Italy's most repspecred poets, Andrea Zanzotto. His text tells the mythic story of Venice in the form of a suite for solo woman's voice (performed by Christiane Legrand in Venetian dialect), men's voices and instrumental ensemble. Most of the music compositions are centered around three note modes that strongly recall medieval polyphonic structures. Yet this is more postmodern than faux medieval. The simple, strong melodies underscore the text evoking a deeply magical landscape. Venice is realized as a landscape, a pearl-girl, a moon of deep abysses, goddess of church and palace foundations and a crumbling misfortune sinking back into the marshes. Few other urban spaces could produce such a wealth of images. And few other composers could capture the poetry of Venice as Azriť has done on this CD. - Aaron Howard
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