About this Recording
8.559772 - DANIELPOUR, R.: Toward a Season of Peace (Plitmann, Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony, St. Clair)

Richard Danielpour (b. 1956)
Toward a Season of Peace


I’ve often referred to myself as an American Composer with a Middle Eastern memory. My parents were both born in Iran; born in the US, I spent a year in Iran (1963–64), and although I was just a child, I remember much about that year. In addition to learning Farsi, I laid the bedrock of my understanding about the world which deepened as I matured.

Sadly, the experience in Iran was for various reasons an unpleasant one, and I had fallen in love with Western Music and culture, so as I grew into adulthood I kept my Persian heritage at a distance. In recent years, however, I have become engrossed in this ancestral legacy and deeply interested in the way the people of Iran and the whole of the Middle East are pleading to be heard in the face of oppressive regimes.

Perhaps the thing of greatest interest and concern to me is how the peoples of this part of the world have used religion to remain at war with one another, in spite of the fact that Jews, Muslims and Christians all believe in “One God.” Ironically all of the great religions speak of peace as a fundamental goal for humanity. “Shalom”, “Salaam Allecham”, and “Peace Be With You” are primary greetings in Judaism, Islam and Christianity respectively. This is the reason for my using multiple languages in Toward a Season of Peace.

I used a first class English translation of the work of Persian poet Rumi and not the original Farsi for two reasons: I wanted to acquaint American listeners with the greatness of Rumi’s very accessible work. And it seemed critical to have a sonic contrast to Hebrew and Arabic which Farsi—similar to both languages even though the two are dissimilar to one another—would not provide. Thus Rumi acts as an arbiter, a voice of wisdom and clarity in the polarized dialectic between Hebrew and Arabic.

The three part oratorio is cast in seven movements; Part 1 is comprised of the first, second and third movements using settings of texts dealing primarily with war and destruction; Part 2, movement four, begins with the famous litany of Ecclesiastes and culminates with a setting of the Lord’s Prayer, invoking the choice between war and peace; and Part 3, the last three movements, sings of the promise of peace through forgiveness.

The work is titled Toward a Season of Peace because the “season” in question is Spring, which appears in many of the texts and is sometimes a metaphor for change and transformation. Moreover, the Persian New Year, Nowruz, which is celebrated on the first day of Spring, heralds a time of renewal and reconciliation. That the world première of this new work was given on or just after Nowruz was not an accident. May it be shared by all in the spirit of harmony.

Richard Danielpour

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