On February 17, 2014, Baritone Shea Owens joined pianist and co-artistic director of NYFOS (New York Festival of Song), Michael Barrett, in the premiere performance of two of my most recent compositions, False Morning, and The River-Lip. Originally written for Baritone and Guitar, the songs were recorded by Michael Strutt, and Will George in Vancouver, BC, and are set to Edward Fitzgerald’s English translations of poems by Omar Khayyam. The sold-out performance was nothing short of exquisite, and the concert received a few reviews in the media.
Most notably, the famed music critic, Allan Kozinn, who formerly worked for The New York Times, wrote a favorable review of all three performances at NYFOS in the Wall Street Journal, entitled The Newest of New. While Mr. Kozinn did not directly mention my pieces in his review, he did still give them a thumbs up on his facebook page.
“Our first new friend of the evening was Sheng’s student Iman Habibi, whose songs “False Morning” and “The River Lip” are settings of Edward FitzGerald’s translations of Omar Khayyám’s poetry. Habibi told us that this poetry is at the very heart of Persian mysticism. FitzGerald’s translations were so well-received, he said, that Khayyám’s countrymen went back to his poetry, inspiring a renaissance for the work of this philosopher, mathematician, and poet. Every heart in the room was yearning for spring and warmth by the time it was through and found a new friend in Habibi.”