Arabesque Music Ensemble,
The Music of the Three Musketeers
(Xauen, 2008)

The Three Musketeers of the title are three composers: Zakariyya Ahmad, Muhammad al-Qasabji and Riyad al-Sunbati. This CD presents vocal compositions by these three traditionalists of the 20th century.

The singing of 75-year-old professor Youssef Kassab is accompanied by violin, percussion, cello, nay (flute), qanun (zither) and 'ud.

The seven tracks range from 4-1/2 to 10 minutes long. The length of the works may test the patience of Western listeners not used to this type of music. On the other hand, the length and repetition of musical themes has a hypnotic effect. And the unfamiliarity of this genre makes it quite exotic to most Westerners.

The CD booklet has translations of the lyrics, as well as background information on the composers and the CD project.

review by
Dave Howell

15 August 2009

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