Damascus at Night: A Ballet for Orchestra

Elia, Anthony J.

Damascus at Night: A Ballet for Orchestra by Anthony J. Elia, Composed September 3-28, 2013; 573 pages, Performance Time: 1:17:14 (without breaks)/1:30:00 (with breaks) =============================================== “Damascus at Night” is a 21-movement ballet for orchestra about the elements of human suffering, uncertainty, and the search for hope in the Syrian Civil War (2013). The ballet addresses the human side of the conflict, portraying moments as far reaching as life around a kitchen table, a puppet theater, a church, a refugee camp, and an “old folks” home. The ~573-page work was written over twenty-five days in September 2013, and was composed for ballet companies to adapt freely and creatively at their discretion. Performance times will vary, depending on chosen tempi, but the recommended length would likely run between 1:17:14 and 1:30:00. The 21-movement score is provided in Academic Commons (along with parts), and the detailed descriptions of these parts can be seen below. The composer dedicates the ballet to his many family and friends, who have shown great support over the years, and who value constructive conversation about solutions to the world’s ills, while supporting and fostering the creative process as a means to mitigate or assuage these ills. For this, and much more, their friendships are greatly appreciated. Specifically, Soren and Kirk Johnson and family, whose work in the region began years ago, but remains powerfully relevant; Ben and Jenny Sax, whose support has been too numerous to count, and who shared both space in and thought on the region; Nathan Dorn, whose camaraderie and friendship endure and whose insights have plumbed the wells of thought for equally as long; Chad Pollock, who has been a faithful friend and guide beyond the walls of Mideast topics; Matthew Baker, who knows the life of Mideast living, and the complexities of endeavors undertaken in trying to understand such cultures; Sean Knowlton, for restful, constructive conversation with necessary levity; John and David Lehmann, for nearly three decades of music; Sona Hairabedian, among the first to be encouraging and perform works of the young composer; Constance Beavon and Bruce Saylor, for an inspirational friendship made of music and history, born from the majesty of Rome; Ishmael and Vita Wallace, who have been the musical muses of Morningside Heights, creative co-spirits, and unflinching supporters of the composer; Runxiao Zhu, great friend and most positive and honest critic of the composer’s music; Dick Duncan, for the magic of the banjo; Sarah Elia, for expanding parameters of performance; Matthew Elia, for a broader knowledge of the "country" canon; Karlyn and Antonino Elia, for keeping all grounded; Elizabeth and Herman Knaust, for music itself; aunts, uncles, siblings, children of the composer, who have tolerated years of creative wanderings, attempts, and musical scribblings. And finally, Lilah and Solje Elia, for the future of music: these and many others contributed to the possibility of this work. Part 1: Damascus at Night~The Curfew (~1:08)—12 pp. Part 2: Around the Kitchen Table on Hakleh Oula Street (~4:48-4:50)—51 pp. Part 3: Business in Sabba Bahrat Square (~3:35-3:42)—45pp. Part 4: The Quiet Puppet Theater of Ghouta (~5:15)—54 pp. Part 5: A walk through Umayyad Square (~3:00)—28 pp. Part 6: At Al-Hamidiyah Souq (~3:56-4:05)—58 pp. Part 7: Having Tea at the Palace with Bashar and Asma (~3:11-3:40)—32pp. Part 8: A Prayer Near Bab Touma (St. George’s Syrian Orthodox Church)—(~3:12- 3:40)—2 pp. Part 9: An Errand to Aleppo (~4:12-4:25)—26 pp. Part 10: Al-Thawra, Al-Watan, and Inab Baladi Tell the News (~4:11-4:20)—27pp. Part 11: Into the Desert~ Bādiyat ash-shām‎ (~4:12)—7 pp. Part 12: The Trek to Zaatari (The Refugee Camp) (~6:34-6:50)—43 pp. Part 13: Guards in the Street (~3:10-3:18)—25 pp. Part 14: Funeral at Bab el-Saghir (~2:40)—5pp. Part 15: Statecraft (1) – The West (~2:45-2:51)—18pp. Part 16: Trying to Buy Bread at Ibn al-Ameed’s Bakery (~2:45-2:54)—22 pp. Part 17: Statecraft (2) – Russia (~3:15-3:20)—21pp. Part 18: Rocking Chairs and Rockets, Or The Lament of the Elders Going to Bed at Moursalat al Mahabeh (“Old Folks Home”) (~3:55-4:00)—28pp. Part 19: Statecraft (3) – Syria (~5:10-5:22)—40pp. Part 20: The World Watches on TV and Goes Back to Dinner (~3:24-3:35)—12 pp. Part 21: Damascus at Night~Curfew (2)-FINALE (~1:34-1:40)—17 pp. (Parts to all movements of “Damascus at Night” to be available on Academic Commons).

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Burke Library
Published Here
September 15, 2016


This file contains 220 pieces of music comprising the scores and instrument parts for the 21 movements of this composition.