I came across this song while I was surfing on the blog of the Worried Lebanese (see his post, dated 4/4/2010) where he gives an account of the last Muslim-Christian encounter held in Notre Dame de Jamhour on March 25th, 2010, on the occasion of the Annunciation of Mary. It is not the first such a celebration takes place, as the meeting is held for the 4th consecutive year.
Since this year, March 25th is a national Muslim-Christian holiday in Lebanon. Highly symbolic and one of its kind in the world. Muslim-Christian “conviviality” seems definitely to be Lebanon’s trademark. On a purely formal level, of course. Sometimes, we’re just trying too hard, but let’s stay optimistic and hope that it will work out successfully.
After listening to the singing, I am not sure what to say. Honestly, I felt the duet was somewhat awkward. Just as we are trying too hard to show the positive aspect of our beautiful but shattered country, we are trying too hard to telegraph a positive image of Muslim-Christian coexistence. As far as I am concerned, both melodies are beautiful per se. Tania’s enthralling voice alone is a pleasure for the ears. And the takbîr is mesmerizing (especially when the bass strings are playing). But the takbîr with Gounod’s Ave Maria?! A priori this is a very good idea; I have always been a fan of original musical arrangements and challenging initiatives. Indeed, this is a good idea… but bad music. Or, to be more precise, bad harmony. The superposition of both musical themes just didn’t yield the desired result–sorry to say this.
Perhaps singing Muslim-Christian coexistence is like living it. Singing harmoniously is as difficult as living together harmoniously. But not impossible.
At the end of the day, politically correct is always more legitimate than harmonically correct, isn’t it?