Heard every holiday season on Classical 94.5 WNED, The Rose Ensemble, now in its 23 (and final) year tours America with a message of peaceful co-existence in their program “Land of Three Faiths” on stage at Canisius College’s Montante Cultural Center, in a free Arts Canisius concert described as a mix of sacred, secular, folk, and classical music (listen below) that will take listeners on an exploration of language, spirituality, and cultural exchange. And some pretty cool sounds that you don’t get to hear everyday.
Tickets to this Thursday, October 4, event at 7:30 p.m. are free, but you are asked to check in so they know you’re coming for Thursday evening’s concert as well as the post-concert reception. (Arts Canisius is known for tasty receptions.)
According to Jordan Sramek, founder and director of the Minnesota-based Rose Ensemble:
“This program is an exploration of faith traditions on an historical level. We look at Medieval Spain. It is the time and place where people have been able to kind of dig in and say there was co-existence between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. And we use this as a sign of hope…. Abraham, the father of the three faiths, is in a lot of ways the hero of the story. The program allows people, in a very real and tangible way, to understand this concept of co-existence…. threads of music and culture that other people throughout the ages were able to pick up….”
One example of a thread, Sramek says, can be seen and heard in the on-stage instruments like the oud [say “ood”] the twangy plucked-string sound associated with the Middle East which developed into the Western Renaissance lute. The Rose Ensemble will be joined by two performers, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian musician whose areas of expertise include the oud, violin, qanun, and Arab percussion Zafer Tawil and American-Uruguayan Spanish baroque specialist and operatic soprano Nell Snaidas.
In the very extensive (after all, this is on a college campus) program notes The Rose Ensemble lists their musical selections for the evening along with a lot of rich historical background. As they write: “Our programmatic approach to [the] complex Abrahamic exploration also sheds light on the cultural, musical, and linguistic exchanges that took place among people of different faith traditions in medieval Spain and, in subsequent generations, throughout many parts of the Mediterranean and Middle East…. Our goal has always been that audiences would be enlightened with a greater knowledge of both world history and religious history. We want them to leave performances with a sense that the lines between what traditionalists call “sacred” and “secular,” what contemporary critics insist on labeling “folk” and “classical,” and what modern society speaks of – at once synonymously and separately – as “Islamic” and “Arab,” are very much blurred throughout history.”
Listening to music, (more samples here) says Sramek, “allows modern audiences, at least for a second, to let their guard down.”
Listening to music allows modern audiences, at least for a second, to let their guard down.
At 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the free performance, Thursday, October 4, 2018, Rose Ensemble Founder and Director, Jordan Sramek, will give a free lecture open to the public also at the Montante Cultural Center.
This idea of co-existence between Muslims, Jews, and Christians might all be familiar to visitors to The Chautauqua Institution, which for several seasons has been looking at what connects people of the “Abrahamic Tradition.” In fact, if you want to know more, you might look into this coming summer’s “Abrahamic Program for Young Adults (APYA) designed to reflect the efforts and mission of the Department of Religion in building the Abrahamic Community by teaching young adults at Chautauqua Institution about the shared heritage of the Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.”
And, the music that will be heard on Thursday evening will be familiar to fans of the radio program Millennium of Music these days heard Sunday nights at 11:00 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED where host Robert Aubry Davis has covered music of the Sephardic tradition in our time.
This program should appeal to fans of singing, madrigals, choral music, Middle Eastern music, Renaissance music, chamber music, religious music, and of course, any guitarist or drummer who wants to hear something inspiring.
Lead photo: Michael Haug