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Sheikh Zayed's parade


The inspiration for Sheikh Zayed’s parade comes from the Nabati poetry written by the ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The poem that specifically inspired this piece of music is a eulogy to Sheikh Zayed, who is thought of as the founding father of the UAE. The Arabic title of the poem is called ‘The parade’, or in Arabic, ‘Harbyia’, which is literally a ‘song of war’. The ‘Harbyia’ is a well-known folk song of the region originating from the Bedouin oral tradition.

The traditional ‘Harbyia’ melody is directly quoted in the music at the opening and at the end of the piece. The composer aims to capture the character of the Harbyia dance: a massed celebration with men swaying their staffs and young girls swirling their hair across from one side to the other. Brass instruments were chosen for the piece because they are fitting for the theme of the music—a parade. The music’s rhythmic energy builds to a climax of powerful harmonies but then gives way to a more wistful middle section hinting at 'the scent of musk and perfume being carried on the breeze', mentioned at the beginning of the poem. Imagery derived from nature, is a characteristic of the Nabati tradition of poetry.

The premiere of this piece was given at the Gala opening of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in March 2011.

from notes by Signum Classics © 2020


Marsh: Flare & other works
SIGCD644Download only


Track-specific metadata for SIGCD644 track 8

Recording date
4 May 2011
Recording venue
The Church of St Edward the Confessor, Mottingham, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adam Binks
Recording engineer
Adam Binks
Hyperion usage
  1. Marsh: Flare & other works (SIGCD644)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: September 2020
    Download only
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