Ahmed Karkanawi (composer)

Epic Of A Prophet by Ahmed Karkanawi

Widely praised for his work as the first Saudi academic musicologist, ethnomusicologist, and classical music composer,  Karkanawi returns to the music world with a passionate and enthralling offering entitled Epic Of A Prophet. Karkanawi’s Epic Of A Prophet is in the form of a Symphonic Poem about Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), being the first in the classical repertoire about him.

The album/EP is comprised of seven pieces and unveils a biographical journey of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), which features the pivotal moments of his life during this season of Ramadan. As Karkanawi’s work continues to evolve, Epic Of A Prophet proves to among his most invigorating work.

Overture is an intense piece that sets the tone for what is to follow. The track features an elegantly intense measure of bass percussion and low-keyed strings, which adds to the richness of this composition.

Holy Revelation takes a strategic approach in its sonic description of the Prophet’s first contact with the angel Gabriel. The composition’s mood is that of caution, as it would be with anyone encountering a supernatural force. Its usage of the pan flute and depth in structure, whereby we find the melody culminating in various parts of the composition unveils Karkanawi’s ingenuity as a composer.

Holy Glory carries overtone of majesty and the glory attributed to Prophet Muhammed. This piece’s exceptional use of brass instrumentation and sterling violin measures testify to The Prophet’s (PBUH) fine demeanor. The selection has a rich rhythm and strong colorful overtones.

Holy Passions (Year of Grief) explores his passions (PBUH) especially about the year he lost his wife (Khadija that supported him at the beginning of his message) and his Uncle that he used to be as a father to him (The Prophet was an orphan). Karkanawi’s fusion of Middle Eastern sounds within the framework of traditional classical prose creates an emotionally charged composition.

Holy Journey (Hijerah) is an innovative selection, which incorporates the Nay: traditional Arabian flute into its musical scheme. The air of the melody is remarkably festive and cinematic. This composition covers the Prophet Muhammed’s immigration from Mecca to Madinah, seeking freedom and welcoming society that is ready for his message.

Holy Requiem is another track that imbeds full dramatization into its course. What I find enjoyable about this composition is a funeral march in relation to His death (PBUH), it is not drenched in sorrow, but in recognizing the process itself.

Finale (Tala’a Al-Badro) is the concluding track that imparts a sense of faith and resolves in one’s spiritual path. Karkanawi’s offering is inspired by the most popular song in Islamic History, referred to as the one that the people of Madinah welcomed The Prophet upon his arrival.

Epic Of A Prophet is a work of utmost faith and possesses a sense of timelessness and nostalgia that is rarely seen in music.  Karkanawi’s work is excelling in the history it captures as well as its structure and melodic scheme. Epic Of A Prophet will certainly stand the test of time for its symphonious wisdom and brilliance.

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