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These Fruitless Strifes was written in 2017 and is a major work for large orchestra, lasting nearly 28 minutes. It arose out of the increase in terrorism in this century, in particular, since the attack in New York on 11 November 2001.
The work is highly dramatic and is in 5 movements, as follows:
1. The Conflict; represents the conflict between terrorist organisations and the general civilian population. Two themes represent terrorists and civilians and the first becomes more aggressive as the movement progresses. The climax represents the two towers of the World Trade Centre being crashed by enemy aircraft. 2. Buried Alive – Under the Rubble; follows on without a break. It represents the pain of someone trapped under the resulting rubble, unable to move. Some were lucky enough to be rescued and survived – even if with serious injuries – this being depicted by this movement. 3. Elegy for the Departed; is a commemoration for the many, particularly civilians, who do not survive. 4. Lament for the Mourners; reminds us that many family members and other loved ones are left behind, agonising over what has happened. It is a choral, starting with dense chords for the brass and moving slowly downwards, via various wind combinations. 5. Transformation – Spirit of Hope; I would very much like to believe that, in accordance with some Holy Scriptures, circumstances will improve. This movement’s main theme is a rhythmic variation on the ‘civilian’ theme in the first movement, with injections of the terrorist’s theme, the Lament movement and the Elegy, serving as stark reminders of past events. The movement, however, ends peacefully, with hope for the future.
Although the work focuses on one major devastating historical event, it can apply to any similar situation, including outright war. The work is prefaced by the following quote by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas Effendi:
We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations – that all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that all bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease and differences of race be annulled – and so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away and the most great peace shall come. Is not this that which Christ foretold? “Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind”.
The work is for an orchestra consisting of triple woodwinds plus soprano saxophone, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, 3 percussion players playing 18 different instruments, harp, piano and strings.