For French Horn and Orchestra – ca. 17′
Telling the Arabic Language history through music
French horn, 2(2pic) 2(2eng.hn) 2(2/B.Cl) 2(2Cbsn) – 2 2 3(3b.tbn) 1 – 4perc – str
“Wilada, fa kifah” (translation: Birth, then struggle) is a piece of three movements for french horn and orchestra, dedicated to the international Egyptian Horn Player Amr Selim.
The first movement titled “مخــــاض“ (Makhad, translation: parturition) depicts through music the beginning of the formation of Arab society and its transition from nomadic Bedouins to civilized cities. The second movement “ض“ (Daad, a letter that signs the Arabic language), depicts the birth of the Arabic language after a long struggle and fights between Arabs themselves and non-Arabs, and the third movement “وغى” (Wagha, translation: the sound of battle), which means the voice of the crowds in battles, to depict the struggle that was imposed on our language and on every Arab upon his birth.
The cadenza in the third movement, asks the french horn player to improvise on the vertical Arabic rhythmical poems, which is a different combination of consecutive rhythmical cells (words of 2 to 4 syllables each, called “Tafa’il” (تفاعيل)) used to write the poems in the medieval era.
Through music, we try to trace the course of Arab human history and the struggle imposed on it in order to preserve his identity. It is the first Arabic concerto for the Horn instrument, with the aim of introducing this instrument to Arabic music from an orchestral perspective.
Through the work, the composer treats the French Horn as an Arabic traditional instrument, by discovering the Arabic “Maqam” world, as he wrote many musical phrases that include three-quarters ton and many traditional Arabic performance techniques, and this was not presented before on the Horn.
In terms of rhythms, the composer used many of the forgotten ancient Arabic rhythms, such as the Awis, the Mouraba’, the Mouhajjar, the Zarafat, and the Sama’i.