Category Archives: Composition

A work by Elia Koussa performed by David Danel at Tehran Contemporary Music Festival

A work by Elia Koussa was performed by Czech artist David Danel at Tehran Contemporary Music Festival, on April 26, 2018. It is entitled “Sermon of an ex-statue”.

TCMF is an international event in the fields of contemporary music. It is an independent cultural and artistic event held annually with lectures and performances including experimental and improvisational presentations. It took places this year at the end of April, with musicians from Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany and Poland who attended this year. A total of 130 musicians in 27 ensembles have entered the lineup of the event.

About  “Sermon of an ex-statue” or fdrfh

“fdrfh (shadrafah) was a north Arabian god worshiped for protection and prosperity by the Arab and Aramaean tribes living in and around Palmyra in southern Syria before Islam. In the story “Layl”, written by the composer of this piece a year ago, many of the ex-gods of the arabic and middle eastern region are sought, revived and transformed to archetypes, becoming teachers, reminding other statues of their salvation. fdrfh, as a response to the destroyers (of statues and culture), is the protector or shepherd, given the task for care and help of others, reminding of innocence, compassion, support and honesty, away from the modern concept of safety (spread by the modern “consuming hospitals” (medias, fanatic religions…)).

Elia Koussa

David Danel : Elia Koussa, a sensitive mature composer

David Danel, a violinist of Prague Philharmonic and teacher at the University of Ostrava, shared his view/opinion on Elia Koussa’s music and the piece Shdrfh that he played in Prague in summer 2017 :

I value the work of Elia Koussa deeply. For me, his music (as far as I know it) is a perfect example of work of a mature composer who strove and searched for deeply and managed to achieve his own authentic musical style and language. It is a well balanced blend of modern, avant-garde thinking rooted in and inspired by a vast heritage and deep tradition of Lebanese, Middle-East, Arabic music system.

In each piece of Elia, I sense a very sensitive personality aware of the times he was given to live in, as well as a grateful man not rejecting the values and echoes of the past. His thinking is in a good sense (far from a kitch) very musical, yet always striving for complexity, perfection and honesty. No avant-garde clichés nor cheap post-modern effects to be found here. Deeply personal, deeply spiritual (meaning: always searching, open and asking questions), always well crafted instrumentally.

For me, the struggle with the piece Shdrf lies in the complex micro-tonality (difficult for the Middle-European) Elia Koussa is exploring (or using) and also in shaping and connecting many small musical/motivic threads he is weaving throughout the whole piece and presenting it in a wholesome way. With this piece I was and still am being challenged and I want to perform it also at other festivals or venues to bring it to perfection and to learn about the listeners’ perception of Shadrafah.

In the world premiere at the festival of new music Forfest Kromeriz (Czech Republic, EU) the piece itself as well as being a part of whole violin recital had a very good feedback – I was made to come back to the stage (actually to the “front” of baroque rotunda) four times, give an encore and answer many questions from the public/listeners after the concert. I feel privileged to be the dedicatee of the piece and also to be able to premiere “Shdrf – sermon of the ex-statue” by Elia Koussa of Beirut, Lebanon.

Davide Danel