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The whole world will be listening to a ‘Symphonic Mevlid’
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 17 Apr 2011 Sun 09:33 am

The whole world will be listening to a ‘Symphonic Mevlid’

17 April 2011, Sunday / ALİ PEKTAŞ, İSTANBUL

                                           Zinedine Zidane

There have been countless wonderful things said in the name of the Prophet Muhammad. There have also been thousands of books that have been written.

However, none of these human acts of praise for the Prophet Muhammad have taken a place in people’s hearts and minds as much as the “Mevlid-i Şerif” (The Prophet Muhammad’s Nativity), written by Süleyman Çelebi.

Beginning with the lines “Allah! This name we invoke in the beginning, For this ever due from us, his servants,” the Mevlid has been read for the past 600 years and will continue to be read in mosques, lodges, friendly gatherings and homes. Now this distinguished work will be read once more before the whole world, on the occasion of the passing of 1,400 years since the Quran was passed down to humanity, in a concert to commemorate Kutlu Doğum Haftası, or Sacred Birth Week. At this time, people will be able to listen to the Mevlid as interpreted by a chorus of 320 people, the result of a very special project sponsored by the Presidential Office to honor the Mevlid.

Composed by famous Turkish composer Selman Ada in a cantata format as a symphonic piece, the Mevlid will be sung on April 20 in Istanbul at Sultanahmet Square. The program’s organizer is Ahmet San, and the general program will see the Mevlid presented as poetry in three different languages. The presentation of the Mevlid will be performed by football star Zinedine Zidan, Jermaine Jackson, brother of the late Michael Jackson, and Green Party Co-Chairman Cem Özdemir.

Let it be a gift to all humanity

It was in 2007 that Ada arranged the Mevlid so that it could be read and presented with a tenor, a bass solo, a large chorus and a symphonic orchestra. Ada, noting that up until today there have been many works composed relating to the prophets David, Moses and Jesus, says: “The Mevlid concerns all of humanity and announces the birth of the Islamic Prophet, who brings love, brotherhood, peace and virtue. This wonderful eulogy written by Süleyman Çelebi has been read for centuries by people with beautiful voices according to traditional Turkish music standards and has thus turned into one of our favorite hymns. But since it has never been arranged according to more universal standards, it has never really become known among the rest of the world.” Ada thus notes that this particular composition of the Mevlid ought to be seen as a gift to all of humanity, asserting that he believes that the uniting force of music will ultimately open the doors of love in people’s hearts.

This work will reach all of humanity

The world premiere of the “Mevlid Cantata” will include a 110-person symphonic orchestra from the State Opera and Ballet General Directorate as well as a 320-member chorus on stage. The massive coordination effort of all participants is the responsibility of State Opera and Ballet General Manager Rengim Gökmen. Gökmen says that first and foremost, her excitement is because a new Turkish work is making its world premier. She also believes that the symphonic interpretation of the Mevlid will open the door for future interpretations along the lines of other initiatives in the arts.

Gökmen, who believes that this project will continue for years, says: “We would like to see this piece performed in some of the important capital cities of the world, as it contains universal messages that are aimed not only at the Turkish and Islamic worlds, but are messages that could well be read by people from every race and language. Despite the fact that the Internet and television have the capacity to reach large masses of people, the truth is that nothing can take the place of live performances. This is why the State Opera and Ballet wants to see a long-term project developed with the aim of taking this work throughout Turkey and the rest of the world. I do believe, looking at it from this perspective, that this project will reach all of humanity in the long term.”

The event organizer, Ahmet San, notes that the world premier will mark the start of the “Mevlid Cantata” project, will be followed by performances in 10 cities in Turkey as well as 12 countries throughout the world. He also emphasizes that the project has remained faithful to the original text of the work. He says he believes that this particular arrangement by Selman Ada is vital to seeing the Mevlid cross Turkish borders, with its messages for the rest of humanity.

Ada says: “This year is the 1,400th anniversary of the handing down of the Quran to humanity. This was the occasion for this project. I do believe that the unique dimensions to this important work will attract much attention as it tours the world. For the world premiere, I contacted friends who I knew could easily reach some well-known Muslim names, including some people who became Muslims later in life. Jermaine Jackson, who will read in English, accepted immediately. We will also be recording in three other languages. For German, we went to Green Party Co-chairman Cem Özdemir, and he was happy to help us. For the French version, we will be making the recording in either France or Spain with famous former football player Zinedine Zidane, whose schedule is tricky. At the same time, we have also approached actor Gerard Depardieu for a second version of this project. When we asked him, he said “Why not?” Our meetings with him are still continuing. We are also in talks with another well known figure for the English version, and in fact, we have received at least some initial approval.”

Going on tour in Turkey and the whole world

The “Mevlid Cantata” world premiere will be aired live on channels TRT 1, TRT Arap and TRT Avaz.

Millions of television viewers will be able to watch the performance live across Europe, Asia and Africa, with a live signal being sent to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Prior to the 55-minute performance of this piece, an English presentation of the Mevlid in poetry will be read by Jermaine Jackson.

A giant stage will be set up in Sultanahmet Square, including special sound and light systems.

Following the world premiere in Istanbul, the Mevlid Cantata

will go on tour throughout Turkey and then on to other cities overseas


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