Syrian Requien

Syrian Requien

Syrian Requien (2014)

Viola and Piano

Dedicated to Michael Hall. Performed by Michael Hall (Viola) and Robert Pherigo (Piano)

Duration: 14’.13’’

“Syrian Requiem” is dedicated to American violist Michael Hall, who premiered it in the summer of 2014 at UMKC, USA. Each movement has its own character, mood or feeling even though the main feeling is that of sorrow, pain, hopelessness and rage. The piece is a cry for help for all the people suffering with the civil war in Syria, mainly the children. The Viola acts like a ghost wandering through rubble, mud, broken houses and the dead.

The viola makes use of a maqan starting in A with C#, F#, F natural and Bb. It’s suggested to play all sharps a little bit higher than normal as well all flats a little bit lower than normal, so a more genuine East flavor is achieved. The first section calls for a “rebab” memory, as the performer should play it like a fiddle in a folk song style, using few or no vibrato, and sometimes a little bit out of tune. Other sections call for a stronger bow pressure in order the pitch to become pure noise. The performer should accomplish here a “beautiful ugly sonority” full of poetry and verve.

The Piano does not act as an accompanying instrument but rather as a ghost also, doubling its voice with the Viola, contributing substantially for the drama of the piece. Some sections calls for percussion, using two different parts of the instrument’s cabinet, as well using the flat of the hand and the knuckles. Piano: Robert Pherigo. Live recording of the premiere, Kansas City, 2014.


1. "Almacbar" (the Arabian word for cemetery)

2. Forgotten Hamlets

3.  …in the cold light of dawn, the embers burned out…

4.  Broken windows – swallowed anger…

5.  Under the rubble lies an old rag doll…

For score requests and other informations, please contact the composer.