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We Are One for Chorus and Orchestra




We Are One for Chorus and Orchestra

Instrumentation: 3(picc.)-3(E.H.)-2-2; 4 3 3(B. Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Cel., Hp. Str.
Duration: 22 minutes
Commission: by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Premiere: May 7, 2018, Oratorio Society of New York, Kent Tritle, conductor; Carnegie Hall, New York   
Score and Parts: Presser Rentals and Purchase
Score online: Available for Perusal Only at ISSUU.COM  

5 movements:

 I. Paz (Spanish)
II. Bani Adam (Persian)
III. Shalom (Hebrew)
IV. Salam (Arabic)
V. We Shall Overcome


About We Are One for Chorus and Orchestra:

We Are One
is an expression of our shared desire for respect, justice, freedom, and peace. It draws its message from different cultures, religions, and time periods. Each text is sung in its original language and throughout the composition the word peace is sung twenty languages representing more than one hundred countries. We Are One employs a unified musical tone throughout its five continuous movements while also paying homage to musical traditions related to the chosen texts.

The first movement, “Paz,” is a reflection on the words of Benito Juárez (the first Zapotec president of Mexico during the mid-nineteenth century) on the importance of mutual respect among individuals and nations for achieving lasting peace. The music begins with a spirited introduction followed by a sudden drop in intensity. Subsequently there is a gradual build towards a lively ending that surpasses the energetic opening with a fanfare of seven trumpet calls and the repetition of the word “peace” in twelve languages.

The second movement, “Bani Âdam,” sets a poem by Sa’di, the thirteen-century Persian poet. The verse is one of the most celebrated and widely recited poems in Farsi and was chosen to be included on the Voyager spacecraft as the sole representation of the poet’s native Iran. The instrumental introduction highlights the ornamental solo woodwind passages alluding to Persian traditional music. The meditative character of the music changes to a thorny climax followed by a pensive conclusion where the poem asks for our empathy for the suffering of all human beings.

The third movement, “Shalom,” uses an ancient Hebrew text that is perhaps the most commonly used greeting in the entire Middle East. The music begins with a horn call for prayer, followed by the chorus singing in soft, hushed tones. Following the phrase “peace be upon you,” the word peace is repeated in twelve languages.

The fourth movement, “Salâm,” incorporates an Arabic poem written by Ibn Arabi the great, thirteenth-century Andalusian Sufi poet and spiritual teacher. He wrote during the golden age of religious tolerance when medieval Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived in peace for several hundred years in southern Spain. The excerpt is part of a longer poem describing the importance of love and religious tolerance. The music is strongly rhythmic and energetic alludes to the vibrancy of Arabic music. Elements of festive passages from the first movement reappear with greater enthusiasm and celebration.

We Are One
concludes with the text of “We Shall Overcome,” an African American spiritual and the anthem of the Civil Rights movement. This movement has extended virtuosic a capella singing with some orchestral interruption. The celebratory spirit of the first movement returns on a grander scale with the final line “We shall live in peace.” The word peace is repeated in twenty different languages accompanied by seven celebratory trumpet calls.

Behzad Ranjbaran has also set the poem “Bani Âdam” for a cappella mixed choir, commissioned by the Ithaca College School of Music in 2008. The earlier work, also named WE ARE ONE, is musically unrelated to the present setting. It is available on a CD, recorded by Musica Sacra, conducted by Kent Tritle.


Text of We Are One

Sung in the original languages

1. Paz


Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones,

El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz

(The word peace is repeated in 12 languages

1. Peace


Among individuals, as among nations,

respect for the rights of others is peace.

(The words of Benito Juárez, the first Zapotec Indian President of Mexico from 1861 to 1872)

2. Bani Âdam


Bani Âdam azâye yek peykarand

keh dar âfarinesh ze yek goharand

Cho ozvi bedard avarad roozgar

degar ozvhâ râ namânad gharâr

Tu kaz mehnateh digaran bighami

nashâyad keh nâmat nahand âdami

2. Human Beings


Human beings are all members of one family.

Created with one common essence and soul

If any of us suffers or bears pain,

We all know and share the suffering together.

To not feel sympathy for human suffering,

Is to be less than human.

(Sa’di (c.1213–c.1291) one of the greatest and most beloved poets in Persian literature)

3. Shalom


Shalom aleikhem

v'ʼimru amen

(The word peace is repeated in 12 languages)

3. Peace


Peace be upon you

and say, amen.


4. Salām


Laqhad kuntu qhablal yawmi onkiru Sahibi

Itha lam yakundini iladinihi dani

Vaqhad Saraqhalbi qhabilan kulla Suratin

adinubidinilHubbi anna tawajjahat

rakaibuhu falHubbudiniwaimani

4. Peace


I used to turn my back to a friend

whose religion is not close to mine

But now my heart has become accepting of all images,

I follow the religion of love wherever itscaravanshead,

for love is my religion and creed

(Ibn Arabi (1165-1240), the great Andalusian mystic Sufi poet and spiritual teacher)

5. We Shall Overcome

We shall overcome

We’ll walk hand in hand

We shall not be silent

We are not afraid

The truth shall make us free

We shall overcome someday

We shall live in peace!

(The word peace is repeated in 20 languages)

5. We Shall Overcome

We shall overcome

We’ll walk hand in hand

We shall not be silent

We are not afraid

The truth shall make us free

We shall overcome someday

We shall live in peace!

(“We Shall Overcome” is an African-American Spiritual)


The word peace is sung in 20 languages representing

more than 100 countries



























































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