Compact Disc: Farhitna ("Our Joy") Songs for the Celebration of the Maronite Nuptial Incoronation

By Robert E. Harris 
A financier with a major bank in the USA. 

This new magnificent CD is by Father Miled Tarabay. It is happily introduced by Father Badih El-Hajj in the CD booklet insert as follows: " 'Farhitna' is a collection of magnificent hymns, with texts taken mainly from Sacred Scriptures, all in reference to that particular occasion that is both religious and social, that event of human life that has been sanctified by God and to which He has given dimensions that surpass the social event as such: matrimony."

In the fall of 1997, I made my first trip to Lebanon -- my ancestral homeland. Before I left for my trip, I called a friend and told him that I felt strongly that I must travel to Lebanon within a matter of weeks. However, some events beyond my control occurred that normally would have precluded the trip for most people. Fortunately, however, the following month I found myself in Lebanon and this gave me a spiritual perspective that has allowed me to listen to and appreciate this CD in a unique and intensely gratifying way.

While speaking with my friend on the telephone, I asked him to read from two books of the Bible. The first was I Kings, 5, 1-6, and the second was the Song of Solomon, 3 and 4, 8-9. He read them, noting the references to Lebanon and to marriage and, curiously enough, asked if I was getting married. At the time I said no, but what I didn't realize was that a spiritual marriage was about to take place. Lebanon has infiltrated my thoughts and invigorated me with spiritual energy like nothing before or since. In a sense, his intuition was right and I must return soon for my bride, if only to satisfy the burning desire to know more about my rich Lebanese heritage. For me, this CD assumes a remarkable spiritual importance. In considering the meaning of the nuptials that bind husband and wife, the music is powerful in capturing and delivering the expression of the importance of this sacred bond and the majestic feeling of the ceremony is felt in the echoing refrains throughout the CD.

This CD helps us capture the essence of matrimony. It will stir up feelings of the importance of committing to God, to the Church and to oneís spouse. This is done primarily through the example of God's gift to us, His living Son. The comparisons between the commitment that Jesus made to the Church and the depth of commitment intended in marriage are inevitable.

To say that I am uplifted by this music is an understatement, because for me it has intensified my yearning to return soon to my ancestral homeland, Lebanon. You cannot capture the message of this beautiful music by listening to parts of the CD. Take the time to listen to the entire CD. You will not regret it and will be rewarded spiritually.

There are twenty tracks on the CD. The first twelve encompass the ceremony, while the last eight include various instrumental refrains. The singing is done mostly in Syriac (an Aramaic spoken during Christís life on Earth). The text is printed in the following four languages in the booklet insert: Arabic, French, English and Italian. Several summary comments on the first twelve songs follow:
 

1.Entrance Song - The groom and bride sing praises to each other and finally acknowledge completeness through God by working for His blessing and committing their lives to Him. 
2.Song of Introduction - Instructions for the groom. 
3.Song of Incense - Expression of manís incompleteness and loneliness as told through the story of Adam. 
4.Ramremayn - Plea to bless the couple as in the wedding of Cana. 
5.Alleluia-Encouragement for the bride. 
6.Song of Promise - Of the Holy City. 
7.Song of the Rings - Brings us the conclusion that God is love. 
8.Song of the Crowns - This is the shortest and the most powerful song of the CD. It repeats God's promise to the faithful: 

"This is what the Lord says to you: 
'Do not be afraid! Remain faithful until death 
and I will give you the crown of life; 
then you will sit on my throne, for ever and ever'".

9.Final Song Praising God. 
10.Irs Ana - Again, a reflection on the wedding at Cana and a request for God to bless the marriage. 11.Biddinyi ma fi mitla - Christ and His bride. 
12.Farhitna - The final blessing is requested as the bells toll in the background. The exuberance of the occasion can be felt.

During the instrumentals of the 13th through the 20th song, the bells are intermingled, bringing back that feeling of euphoria until the final chant. At this point, emotions are exhausted by the realization of the completeness and the sanctity of the blessing of the marriage into which the bride and groom have entered. 

Editorís note: The three CDs by Father Miled Tarabay: L'Office de Saint Charbel, Kamchet Trab W-Bakhour, and Farhitna which are published in Italy by Esperia are available in the United States of America at Qualiton Imports, Ltd. 24-02 40th Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101, URL: http://www.qualiton.com 

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