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Tapestry of sound: a journey to the music of Azerbaijan and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
by Zarya Alexandra Rubin for Vocal Area Network
Posted February 29, 2008

Mark ShapiroIf you happen to be in New York City in mid-March and are musically intrepid, you will have the opportunity to deconstruct any previously held notions of what choral music typically sounds like, and to feast your ears on something new, yet old. Under the nimble and inspired direction of Mark Shapiro, Cantori New York, a small ensemble known for its daring and innovative repertoire and impressive roster of premieres, will be entering foreign territory with the North American premiere of Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh's Gottes ist der Orient. This work for chorus, harp, organ and percussion, combines the poetry of Goethe with ancient Azeri texts.

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If you had asked me a few months ago where to find Azerbaijan on a map, I'm not sure I would have been able to tell you. This tiny country, tucked in the Caucasus on the Caspian Sea, sandwiched between Georgia and Iran, has an incredibly rich tradition of music, art and poetry, influenced by successive conquering empir