Monday, June 07, 2010

Forbidden Voices - Ahmed Essyad

It is always a healthy sign when a music festival is prepared to take artistic risks. As the British singer, Sandy Denny, once said "life is a risk and risks are chances". Sadly not all risks pay off. But naturally, any cutting edge production does always reserve the right to fail.

The inclusion of Ahmed Essyad's work "Forbidden Voices" was such a risk.

The Accroche Note Ensemble are a highly gifted and very disciplined group of soloists who first came together in 1981 around the talents of Françoise Kubler (soprano) and Armand Angster (clarinet). Their performance at the Batha Museum was razor sharp and precise, giving the audience an accurate rendition of Ahmed Essayed's composition. From the first notes it was clear that Essayed, who studied under Max Deutsch, is much affected by a liking for Schoenberg.

Françoise Kubler

Françoise Kubler and the tuning fork

The Accroche Note Ensemble's talents cover a wide range of music from contemporary to chamber music and or several years now, the ensemble has been working closely with composers such as Wolfgang Rihm, Ivan Fedele, Ahmed Essyad, François-Bernard Mâche and Betsy Jolas.

The collaboration with Ahmed Essyad unfortunately comes across as pretentious. The music is difficult and demanding. Kubler's use of a tuning fork was a lighter touch and pointed to the demanding nature of the work.

The warning signs were in the explanation of the music given in the Festival programme...

"Today these voices proposed prohibited by the composer evoke what is held incommunicado, which can not be said, what is forgotten and that conciousness will awaken later."
As one French visitor said, "this is music still waiting to be born." We could not have put it more succinctly.

The inspiration drawn from the mystical poems of Hussein Mansour al-Hallaj was certainly there in what is essentially a vocal work. However, the synthesis of music (and Kubler's impeccable voice) was let down by the very strange decision of Ahmed Essyad to read the text from the back of the audience.

Ahmed Essyad reading

The poetry would have had so much more emotional connection with the audience had he been on stage. Not to see the face of the reader may well have been his intention. But then, not all good intentions bare fruit.


Anne and Tessa Graaff from Cape Town, SA.

Nadia Benjelloun, Fez Encounters Director

British press maven, Mary Finnigan, networking.

Sara and Jason Wright from Germany

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories on The View from Fez, click HERE!

1 comment:

Rachid said...

Very good review. You captured the mood, music and ambiance. Thanks for all your hard work on the Festival