Heart with Wings

Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

About La Monotonia
Written by Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

(Dedicated to Noorunissa Inayat-Khan G.C)

The musical composition called La Monotonia, is dedicated to
Noorunissa, whose war name was “Madeleine”

Listen to La Monotonia
Played by the San Dieguito String Quartet
Mansur Richard Conviser and Sharon Rollinson, violin
Roark Miller, viola and Bonnie Hepburn, violoncello

May the notes of this music remind the listeners that some souls have offered the sacrifice of their lives so that we may be able to cry aloud: “Vive la liberté du corps, du coeur et de l’esprit……” (Long live the freedom of the body, the heart and the spirit….”

La Monotonia is a monotonous repetition of Tonal Elements which are meant to describe human yearnings for communication with “The Divine”. The Heart’s ever expanding wants for intensity in all aspects, in opposition to the Soul’s retrospection in everlasting peace, are the main wordings of the musical attempt, which is a “Cross-Point” between oriental raga systems and western polyphonic structures.

The opening section represents a pictural interpretation of prayerfulness, whereas the middle section retraces reminiscences of those episodes which constitute conflicts between ideals and serenity, coming to a climax which breaks out in the middle section as a “Victory call in the hereafter.”

The closing section is a reminder of the above-mentioned dedication, the words of which are meant to say all our humble gratitude to the everlasting memory of Noorunissa Inayat-Khan.

End Notes
by Murshida Nuria Stephanie Sabato

Over the years Murshid Hidayat and I had many conversations about the meaning of this very special musical symphonic poem dedicated to Murshid Hidayat's sister, Noorunissa Inayat-Khan. In the decades since this war, Noor has been recognized posthumously for her heroism during World War II.

Noor was the last surviving French Resistance telegraph operator in Germany. Noor bravely continued her work single handedly until one day she was captured by German officers. Eyewitness accounts tell that Noor fought her captors like a tiger, escaping and running over rooftops in a chase that eventually lead to her capture and imprisonment in a German concentration camp. These two incidents are musically noted by an increased and breathless pace in the music.

It is told that Noor so captivated the soldiers in the concentration camp by her gentleness, dignity, and compassion that she was deported to a second concentration camp. On the evening of Noor's death eyewitness accounts tells us that she was brought in chains to an open area of the camp. She was told to kneel. The last words she spoke were, "This will kill my Mother." Noor's final pronouncement was shouted "Liberté!"

La Monotonia ends with 3 notes representing Noor's final heart beats.

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