Posts in Category: Musical settings

Nazim Hikmet Oratorio by Fazil Say

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Updated 15 May 2016 with a new video. The text below refers to earlier YouTube uploads of portions of the work.

Nazim Hikmet Oratoryosu, by Fazil Say (at piano)
Poetry by Nazim Hikmet
Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and State Polyphonic Choir, conducted by Ibrahim Yazici
Vocals in “My Country” by Kansu E. Tanca (child) and Genco Erkal; reading in “Traitor” by Zuhal Olcay

To appreciate the first section, it probably helps to know that Hikmet spent most of his adult life in exile. In fact, his citizenship was only just restored, posthumously, 46 years after his death.

One more section of the oratorio with English subtitles seems worth sharing, despite the fact that the video ends abruptly. The subtitles here are in captioning that must be turned on via the arrow-shaped icon on the bottom right corner of the video.

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The poem is Yasamaya Dair, “On Living,” and the translation here is by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk. Poetry doesn’t get much more life-affirming than this — at least, not without turning into very bad poetry. I love that Nazim puts grief at the center of it, as the source or motive for our determination to live fully.

I Hang Myself by Saghi Ghahraman

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Poem by Saghi Ghahraman, translated from the Farsi by Niloufar Talebi — read it here

Video created by The Translation Project and Invision Productions for the DVD, Midnight Approaches
Narration by Niloufar Talebi
Dance by Larissa Verduzen
Percussion by royal hartigan

I discovered this organization and its very fine videos completely by accident last night — just doing keyword searches on YouTube. It’s not entirely clear who the performers are on this particular film; the credits for the DVD as a whole are at the bottom of this page.

Iran has one of the richest poetry traditions in the world, so I’m very pleased to be able to feature some contemporary Iranian poets here, thanks to The Translation Project.

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