“Inspired by Poetry”

Dutch composer Sylvia Maessen composed a piece called ‘Omar Khayyam. Rubaiyat’ for soprano and six tuned wine glasses (2005). The work is now recorded on CD together with eight other works by Maessen. The songs are performed by Irene Maessen.
A presentation will be held in Amsterdam, February 23, 2014, in Arti & Amicitiae, starting at 17.00 pm.

Inspired by Poetry, as the CD is called, contains a number of songs, based on texts by a number of Dutch poets, and by Rutebeuf, Khlebnikov and Tullia d’Aragona, in a variety of musical settings.
‘Omar Khayyam. Rubaiyat’ is made up of nine quatrains from FitzGerald’s translation. The singer also ‘plays’ the wine glasses by passing a moist finger along the rim of the glasses.
With the CD comes a booklet, with additional information and the text of the poems.

A fragment from the work is available at Maessen’s website. Recently Professor Rokus de Groot, (University of Amsterdam), held a lecture ‘Khayyam in de Nederlandse muziek‘ (available from YouTube), in which he explored some of the musical aspects of the composition.


Two critical essays

VCUsiteA somewhat peculiar website is: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, from Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia), that offers the Rubáiyát texts, (1st, 2nd and 4th renderings), a glossary, a bibliographical list, a short biography of Khayyám, a comparison between a number of quatrains by FitzGerald, the Persian text and a literal translation, and the introductions to the three editions.

Also there are two critical essays “Creating Another’s Work: Edward FitzGerald’s The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A bibliographical essay” by Katie Elliott, and “FitzGerald’s second. Additions and Textual Changes in the 1868 Edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” by Thomas Minnick. You’ll find these in the Criticism chapter.

The website is presented in the form of a book, with various illustrations from a number of artists. Unfortunately there is no year of publication, but it is from a later date than 2002.