Absence (for a cappella SATB chorus, duration – 5 mins)

An impressionistic setting of image-filled poetry searching for the divine beloved. Text by Abu bakr al-Turtushi, English translation by the composer.

I walk, my eyes the sky,
hoping to find
the star you see.
I stop each traveler that passes,
hoping one might have
breathed your scent.
I turn my face to blowing winds,
hoping they’ll bring me news of you.
I wander roads, here and there,
passing songs whisper your name.
I look at strangers’ faces,
I look away
Hoping for a trace of you.

Commissioned by Los Angeles Opera (as part of the cantata We Look to the Stars), premiered by singers from Pasadena City College and Cal Tech, under conductor Rodger Guerrero.

Score available for digital download at Sheetmusicplus.com. Please email juhibansalcomposer@gmail.com to purchase hard copies.