GEORGE SOMI’S: THE ASSYRIAN LEGACY V, THE CHURCH OF THE EAST
Performed Live at the 9th Mesopotamian Night concert in California Theatre, San Jose, CA on August 19, 2016
Composer: George Somi
Performed by: Mesopotamia Choral Ensemble
Mesopotamia Orchestral Ensemble
Conductor & Music Director: John Kendall Bailey
The fifth movement of The Assyrian Legacy takes place in the late first century AD. For almost 700 years, the Assyrian people had been without a nation of their own. However, they cling onto a hope that something great may arise yet. The movement starts much like the first movement. A solo cello plays a lonely yet hopeful melody, accompanied by strings. When the Assyrians find Christ, they find a new calling and a new kind of empire. This is signified by flutes playing the Rise theme, heard in the first movement. The flutes represent a more peaceful rise as opposed to the forceful trumpet fanfare from the first movement. This new empire would be established in good will and hope for all mankind.
Hymns from the Church of the East are woven into the fabric of the piece, starting with ‘Edta Qayileh Osha’na, transitioning to O Ganana leading to O Dizdaman, and finally culminating with ‘Ashen ‘Ammeh Zmareykon. With each hymn, the Church grows and its influence becomes more widespread. The climax occurs with the choir singing the words “Qamleh mahron, shookhaleh” (“Christ is risen, praise be upon him”). This, in effect, has a double meaning. While Christ has risen to be sure, so have the Assyrian people.
The Church of the East would spread to all of Mesopotamia, and eventually much of Asia, even as far as China! The hope motif is sprinkled throughout at this point, and an homage to the fanfare of the first movement (Rise of the Great Empire) is featured. The hymn then goes on with a march-like feel. If you listen closely, you will find traces from all other featured hymns hidden in the main melody. This represents the march of the missionaries, and the greatness of Christ and the inspiration he would impart to an otherwise downtrodden people.