Mohammed Fairouz: Lamentation And Satire for String Quartet (2008)

Sono Luminus DSL-92146

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"At 26, the Arab American composer Mohammed Fairouz writes music that is sprightly and inventive, drawing on both Western and Eastern modes to forge a style that is winningly cosmopolitan. But alongside the charm and emotional urgency - and holding it back from full expression - there is a wealth of self-consciousness about process and style, as befits the composer of a piece titled "Four Critical Models." That work, a clever but stylized suite for alto saxophone and violin, offers a catalog of approaches to art, from the airless abstractions of modernism (parodied here almost too perfectly) through Orientalism to a "dialectical synthesis." The other ascetically scored chamber music includes a fanciful set of airs for solo guitar, a deftly funny suite of piano miniatures, and "Lamentation and Satire," a fierce, abrasive string quartet splendidly performed by the Lydian String Quartet." Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

"Composer Mohammed Fairouz is one of a number of twenty-something contemporary classical composers who revel in the postmillennial polyglot atmosphere, where frequent shifts of stylistic demeanor are worn as badges of courage rather than markers of indecision. But writing convincingly in one style is challenging enough: chops-wise, a composer has to be loaded for bear in order to bring off the many signatures polystylists seek to incorporate.

Critical Models, a portrait CD featuring Fairouz’s chamber music, reflects a composer with a fertile mind and considerable technical acumen. An omnivore, if a somewhat conservative one, Fairouz tends to favor neoclassical models: Stravinsky and Hindemith are frequent touchstones. One can hear their spectres in “Litany,” a bucolic piece for double bass and wind quartet. There’s also more than a whisper of Schoenberg in the angular passages of “Lamentation” for string quartet, a work played on the CD with particular ardor by the Lydian Quartet." Christian Carey,

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