Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“We have fallen into the place
Where everything is music.”

Music is a theme in Rumi’s poetry, and a very important element in An Evening With Rumi. Though music director Seabury Gould has been wedding his music to Rumi’s words for more than a decade (and recently released his own CD of this work), he has approached this production as something new, and as a group process.

“I gathered ideas from John and cast members, finding out what people want to do and can do—for example, Amanda [Sharp] plays sitar, so she brought her sitar in today. Then I develop music to accompany the poems, and interweave the musical accompaniment with the poetry.”

Gould will himself play several instruments during the evening. The possibilities include several kinds of flute (especially an Indian bamboo flute called the bansuri), several stringed instruments (including the bouzouki from Greece) and percussion (such as the Middle Eastern dumbek.)

“ I try to hear what is the essence or theme of a poem, and try to have the music convey that. For example, if there’s bewilderment or playfulness or some kind of humor—even self-deprecating humor or irony, I try to have the music convey that. Or passion, or pathos, or—there’s a word the Sufis use, annihilation—that one is blown away by ineffable majesty.”

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