6. Ghazal from Hassan by Flecker

For this final posting, I set a recitation of the ghazal in James Elroy Flecker’s play Hassan, as written in Ravishing Disunities (edited by Agha Shahid Ali) to various pieces of music. The first couplet, which was about flowers, I set to Leo Delibe’s “Flower Duet.” The second, which featured a dove, I set to a dove’s cooing. The third, which was about morning, I set to the beginning of Rossini’s William Tell Overture, which is evocative of morning. The fourth, which was about sunset, I set to a more modern track, called “Chasing Sunset,” by Cubed Circle. The fifth, which was about night, I set to Beethoven’s famed “Moonlight Sonata.” The sixth couplet was left without music, and was made louder, both of which I did for emphasis.

I thought that this ghazal lent itself particularly well to music for a number of reasons. It is a qata, or continuous ghazal, so I thought adding music made it appear more fluid, in keeping with its style. However, by choosing separate pieces of music for each couplet, I reflect upon its nature as a ghazal itself by differentiating between each couplet. I also thought that because the ghazal itself was a reflection on beauty, choosing some of the most beautiful pieces of music and natural sounds I could find would be only fitting. Also, since this ghazal is part of Flecker’s play Hassan, I found it appropriate to set it to music, as many plays contain music. It has a certain appeal when heard aloud that is not conveyed when read, I believe, and I think the music I chose enhances this.

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