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African Sanctus

8 Pages 1880 Words

A critical essay about David Fanshawe´s
African Sanctus

The Project
Fanshawes project ”African Sanctus” in his own words:
” African Sanctus is a universal work who’s impact is immediate, whose message is simple, the driving force is one of Praise and a firm belief in One Music - One God. It informs both listener and performer about African music and its relationship to Western polyphony”
Fanshawe’s project is to ”compose" a meeting between what he feels are two equal but different cultures. His intentions are pure and obviously nothing but good-hearted.
I think the most successful parts, according to the intention of the project is movement#2, ”Kyrie: Call to Prayer”. The Call is recited in Islam and the Choral Kyrie is sung in Latin, and this hybrid creates a strange but beautiful harmony between the two praises. One is to Allah, the other to the Christian God and, as written the program notes:
”This fusion emphasises the musical relationships that do exist between the Muslim and Christian faiths; an affirmation of belief in the one God.”
In movement#12 he repeats this composition:
”Although the composition is virtually the same as No. 2, the juxtaposition of tape to live is completely different. The resulting tempo is therefore more fluid; the choir singing a cappella conveys an ambience of space and timelessness, which expresses unity of faith through prayer.”
This two movements reminds me in a strange way about Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble’s recording ”Officium”, were Garbarek are playing his saxophone in collaboration with the Latin choral songs, even though both saxophone and the chorales on ”Officium” is western based. And like Pharaoh Sanders proclaims in his powerful composition ”Karma”: ”The creator has a masterplan, peace and happiness for EVERY man, the Creator has but one demand, happiness through all the land”
It works as a therapy on ...

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