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Alaiki’ssalaam (Peace be with you) is a Marian Maronite melody developed here in a set of seven variations. The first variation is a joyful melismatic ornamentation in contrasted modes. Variations two and three proceed by rhythmic ostinato or aksak rhythm (3+3+2) around harmonic frames of the theme; they are linked to a powerful and dark Marcia (Variation four). An expressive harmonisation in the middle of the work (Variation five) is followed by a joyful arpeggio. Variation seven is articulated in three sections progressing from an initial habanera, through a tonal, rhythmic and dynamic gradation, to burst out in the brilliant and cheerful coda.
from notes by Naji Hakim © 2010