Mill-Qamar sal-Qabar, From the Moon to the Grave is a song cycle for soprano and piano written by Alex Vella Gregory, which brings together different Maltese literary texts from the Arab Period till the Second World War. This work consists of eight songs by different authors, some of which are not well known. The title, Mill-Qamar sal-Qabar reflects the two important historical events that frame these poems. The Moon is a symbol of Islamic culture, which opens this cycle, whilst the grave refers to the Second World War which cause both physical and psychological deaths in Maltese culture. The fact that the first poem is also an epitaph, brings the whole work to a full circle.
The works were chosen not necessarily for their literary value, but for their musicality and historical relevance. Among the texts included we find It-Talba ta’ Majmuna (The Prayer of Majmuna) is in itself a celebrated archaeological treasure and also evidence of a refined Arabic culture, as well as Caxaro’s Kantilena.
Also on the programme is Knejjes IV (Churches IV), the fourth and final part of a cycle of piano works inspired by the churches of Valletta. These piano works explore Valletta’s churches not simply as a historical or architectural reality but as important markers within the community. This final instalment explores six different churches including the ruined Nibbia Chapel (popularly known as the Chapel of Bones) and the magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral which rounds off the whole cycle.
Composer Alexander Vella Gregory will be joined by soprano Miriam Cauchi in a recital of contemporary works ahead of their recital in Lisbon as part of the Cultural Programme as part of the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the European Council.