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RELEASED: April 18th 2005
TOTAL LENGTH: 00:39:21
FORMAT: 320 kbps MP3
CATEGORIES: Devotional Music
GENRE: A capella, Instrumental, Devotional

This album contains most of the pieces Matthew wrote for his undergraduate degree at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. It includes two a cappella pieces set to the Bahá'í writings, an a cappella version of Hine Ma Tov, a brass quintet, a piano/flute/clarinet trio, and a string quartet, The Prophet of Shiraz, which won first place in the undergraduate composition contest.

Hidden Word #2
O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice;
Turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee.By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in the heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My lovingkindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
Text: Bahá'u'lláh

Busy Not Thyself *
O Son of Being! Busy not thyself with this world, for with fire we test the gold, and with gold We test our servants. Clean the dust and dross from thy heart, that the flame of faith may burn and thy veils be rent asunder. Out of the mire of self and passion arise. Abandon thy temple of clay and as you hold onto the hem of the robe of the All-Merciful ascend unto the New Jerusalem. Turn thy gaze unto thy Beloved that the light of truth may lead you unto the meads of heaven. Glorified art Thou, O my God!
Text: Bahá'u'lláh

Hine Ma Tov
Music: traditional, text: Psalm 133
Hine ma tov uma nayimshevet achim gam yachad.
Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to live together in unity.

* This begins with Arabic Hidden Word #55 after which the rest is adapted to various writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

The String Quartet, “The Prophet of Shííraz,” is a programmatic piece loosely chronicling events surrounding the ministry of the 19th century Persian prophet, The Báb. The first movement, Convocation, refers to a gathering of his believers at the city of Badasht. The second movement, Lamentation, recalls the heinous murders of 20,000 Bábís -men, women, and children- as well as the execution of The Báb. The third movement, Emancipation, alludes to both the emancipation of women, as demonstrated by Tahirih, the Persian poetess, martyr, and first female believer in The Báb, and the global spread of the teachings of The Báb and his successor, Bahá'u'lláh. The movements are in B flat minor, C minor, and D minor respectively, the last of which occasionally reflects rhythms idiomatic of Persian santour playing.

I would like to thank professor of composition Dr. Robert Nelson for his distilled instruction, guidance, and support, and for not leaving a stone unturned or a note un-stoned. Special thanks goes to Stephanie Eijsink and Melanie Mouzoon for their support. ­­Most of all, I would like to thank my wife, Jia-Yi Cheng-Levine, without whose love and support the composing and recording of this album would not have been possible.
-Matthew Levine

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