Tim Rayborn: 'ud, psaltery, dutar, simsimiyya, saz, kithara, lauta, qanun, tar, krar, sehtâr, kinnor, robâb, santur
The art of performance by a solo instrument has a long and honored tradition in the regions of the world explored on this recording. The intimate focus of a single source of music provides a very different aesthetic to what modern listeners in the Western world are accustomed. Middle Eastern dancers prize such pieces (often played in a free rhythm and known as taqasim); solo instrumentals are used as a part of spiritual devotion, and can also be enjoyed purely as art or folk music.
Qadim is an Arabic word referring to music performed in an "old style", according to traditional concepts. Indeed, two of the works here are among the oldest known music to survive: two songs from Ancient Greece invoking the muses, and a 3,500-year-old hymn to the moon goddess Nikkal, from Ugarit, an ancient city (located in modern Syria) connected to the Babylonian Empire.
The other pieces are original compositions, mostly improvised at the time they were recorded, and created in various styles from a wide range of geographical locations. Though I always try to reflect an authentic feel in each piece, I have also added my own ideas and musical motifs to put my individual "stamp" on them.
Of the 14 pieces on this CD, seven are played on lutes, and seven on harps and zithers, alternating with each other for contrast.