Our Music Our Selves

Commentaries, 29 Dhul-Hijjah 1435 (October 23, 2014) — Suggested Listening

Posted in Miscellaneous Essays by Lester Knibbs on the October 22nd, 2014

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

As-Salaam alaikum! Peace!

Our Music Our Selves is an exploration of the symphonic structure and message of the Qur’an and an exploration of the symphonic structure and message of our serious music, and of the role of both in shaping our human history and identity.

The final internet radio program of Our Music Our Selves on American Muslim Blogtalk Radio is today, the 29th of Dhul-Hijjah 1435, the last Thursday of the Hijrah year (also known as October 23, 2014). Our Music Our Selves will continue (Allah willing) as a blog, and possibly in other forums. Hopefully, you will enjoy and benefit from our commentaries and suggestions.


First of all — once again — we to call on our Muslim Brothers and Sisters — especially our Brothers (because Allah has given men the responsibility of leadership) — to read/recite the Qur’an (which is in Arabic and only in Arabic).


Secondly, we suggest that you listen to at least two symphonies each week. The later symphonies of Haydn and Mozart, any of the Beethoven and Brahms symphonies, Schubert’s eighth or ninth, Mendelssohn’s third or fourth, Tchaikovsky’s fourth, fifth or sixth, Borodin’s second, or Franck’s only symphony. There are others we might suggest. If you are ambitious, you might listen to Mahler’s second, fifth or sixth. Dvorak’s seventh, eighth and ninth are also excellent.


Another suggestion is that most or all of us become familiar with one or two symphonies in particular, so that it becomes a sort of common currency. We suggest, first and foremost, Beethoven’s fifth symphony — perhaps the most famous symphony ever composed. The first movement is fairly compact, for a symphonic movement, and exciting. If you are not familiar with listening to symphonic music, this might be a good start. Dvorak’s ninth symphony (“From the New World”) is another symphony that we all might become familiar with — especially since it is influenced by African American themes.


There are also a number of stand-alone symphonic works — overtures and tone poems — we might suggest. Mozart’s overture to his opera “The Marriage of Figaro”, Beethoven’s “Leonore Overture No. 3″, Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture”, Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture”, and Sibelius’ “Finlandia” — among many others.

Concertos — usually for solo instrument and orchestra — are usually exciting. We’ll recommend a number of these later.

Good listening!


Dear Brothers and Sisters, please check out my other blogs from time to time. They are:

Doctor Hakeem: African-American Commentaries


Word-to-Word: A Comparative Study of the Bible and the Qur’an


Take it easy.

As-Salaamu alaikum! Peace!

Brother Lester

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