Mark Padmore [tenor]
Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant [violins]
Simone van der Giessen [viola]
Marie Bitlloch [cello]
Jonathan Dove [born 1959]
In Damascus – for tenor and string quartet, text by Ali Safar translated by Anne-Marie McManus 
1. A little while ago
2. And what if you weep alone
3. Two days ago
4. Here and now in Damascus
5. The many faces of Damascus
7. Soon we will be free
8. I don’t think any nations
9. On all my travels, I’d take a book
10. My heart is a black lump of coal
11. My country
In the terrible years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months in the prison lines of Leningrad. Once someone recognized me. Then a woman with bluish lips standing behind me, who, of course, had never heard me called by name before, woke up from the stupor to which everyone had succumbed and whispered in my ear (everyone spoke in whispers there):
“Can you describe this?”
And I answered: “Yes, I can.”
Then something that looked like a smile passed over what had once been her face.
Instead of a Preface - Requiem
In times of tyranny and repression the responsibility of poets, composers, artists and writers of every description is to tell the story in ways that will continue to resound long afterwards. The people of Syria have suffered terribly in a seemingly endless war. Jonathan Dove has taken the words of Ali Safar in Anne-Marie McManus’ fine translation and spoken for the ordinary people of Damascus overwhelmed by senseless violence.
The work is in eleven short movements played without a break. The Quartet and Mark Padmore tell the story of the deaths of children, falling bombs, the resilience of the people, the faces of Damascus, all culminating in the devastating My country, please wait a little longer, a plea to allow the lost children to return.