مشاهدة جميع الاصدارات : Al Majdalah al Kubra

03-05-2006, 23:15
In 1944 my father had a small choir. Amongst the young men and women there were 4 young men with very different characters but the common thing between them was that their voices were the closest things you could hear next to Abdel Wahab! Their names were Georges Katramize, Jean Araouadi, Georges Estelli, and Saba Nasseh (died last summer).

Because of the beauty of their voices my father decided to compose this piece just for them! The Makam is ottoman (Acem Kurdi), the format of the liturgic poetry is byzantine, but the tune and the rendition is sooo Arabic.

Anton Effendi, I'm afraid you won't be able to come up with any equivalent of this piece :-)

World War II ends shortly after, my father is sent to Paris for his studies, and the men of the choir never sang again (apart from Katramize). Fourty years later I studied engineering with the son of George Estelly, and I heard him once privately humming something by Abdel Wahab. His voice was devine! Saba Nasseh was the driver of my school bus so when he was in a good mood, I use to hear his gorgeous voice humming something whilst driving.

My father was told that in the seventies the Unesco issued an LP on which this piece is recorded as a show case of Arabic church music, but this is to be confirmed.

What is certain is that this summer I will playing this piece on my Oud accompanied by Matthaios Tsahourides on pontic Lyra, and by a fantastic Armenian duduk player that I hope to introduce to you soon! This will be part of the Byzantine festival convening in London this summer. This piece was chosen to represent the Arabic style of church singing.

I'll leave you to savour why!

04-05-2006, 12:16
Thank you for this exclusivity Najib.

I thoroughly enjoyed this masterpiece. And who needs musical instruments when one has such a brilliant choir? Where were you hiding this treasure?

الله يحفظ الوالد ويعطيه الصحه والعمر المديد امين

04-05-2006, 13:05
يا كريم يا إبن الأكارم

I really thought of sending you a private e-mail to point it out, because I thought a lot that you would definitely like it, but there you go, you already picked up on it.

I have an old recording of it on BASF reel from the sixties, I hope that I'll be able to bring it with me to England to transform it somewhere.

Thank you Hilal.

04-05-2006, 15:07
Yes Najib, good one.

Actually, that is my next 'laborious project' transforming a great many reel tapes (moslty Basf) to digital. The problem is that our two reel to reel recorders are broken and one of which is way beyond repairs. However, I have already made arrangements to have them done in Tripoli . I am quite sure that a lot of hidden treasure will surface.

Best regards to you and to your family and keep the good stuff coming.

04-05-2006, 17:48
wonderful voices ..rabbena yedeehum el-se7a we toulet el-omr (we yerham man tawafa )...

Anton Efendi
04-05-2006, 22:42
So good to hear your father's voice again after so long.

If you're looking for Ottoman-influenced chant, then I think I can indeed find something to your liking.;)

Take a look at the following. A Dynamis Ferahnak (Echos D, Fthorikos) by Thrasyvoulos Stanitsas (courtesy of orthros.org).

Then there is the asmatikon trisagion of the doxology (i.e., the long qudduson illah at the end) in Echos Plag. D (Rast) by Andreas Petrocheilos (who was 2nd Domestikos when Stanitsas was Lambadarios at the Fanar). You can hear someone next to him saying Ahhh! in Church!

Stanitsas really played around with Turkish stuff, and Petrocheilos took it even further, and the more commercially famous contemporary bearer of this type of chanting is Theodoros Vassilikos.

Also, for comparative purposes, I'm attaching a doxology Plag. A Enarmonion (Acem Kurdi) composed by Georgios Violakis (+ 1911) and chanted by Demosthenes Païkopoulos (who also was 2nd Domestikos when Stanitsas was Lambadarios at the Fanar). Both this and the Petrocheilos trisagios are courtesy of cmkon.org.

For those who read Byzantine music, here is the music for this doxology, from the collection of Lycourgos Petrides:


It has 11 pages. What you do is substitute the number before .jpg (e.g., GV02, GV11).


04-05-2006, 23:50
I'm going to dig deep in my dad's library because I know he interviewed Stanitsas in the seventies when he was sent by the Greek embassy in Lebanon to Greece!

By the way there is a legendary monk in Mount Athos, I can't remember the name, and he must have died by now, but it was said that he had very few strings in his vocal box due to a disease. However his voice was still unbelievable.

Any idea about the name, and wow if you have some recordings as well!

Anton Efendi
05-05-2006, 00:13
Are you talking about Dionysios Firfiris? Or Dositheos Katounakiotis?

Firfiris' voice can get tiresome after a while. Dositheos' is much better on my ears. He was blind, but I don't think he had anything wrong with his voice as you describe.

You can learn about Dositheos here and hear some clips by him. This is a most excellent site for Byzantine music.


You can hear stuff by Firfiris here, with a little biographical note in Greek.


It would be great to get that interview with Stanitsas if indeed you still have it! I believe Stanitsas spent a couple of months in Beirut in the mid 60's after he left Turkey.

05-05-2006, 10:31
I was talking about Firfiris, thanks.

I think he also interviewed Taliathoro as well.

07-05-2006, 13:52
This is a masterpiece... I can't get enough of it !

It's very beautifully done; "arabized" or not, it's surreal.

I'm no expert in music, but I can tell that whoever did this is a brilliant person with a very acute spirituality.

07-05-2006, 20:18
You're welcome Jacques.

Also someone today promised me a full tape of Samuel Daoud's singing, so watch this space fore more!!!