Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 11:37 am
Aleppo's storied old city, which dates to the 12th century, has suffered much in the fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels over the past few months. But parts of the city remain intact, as I saw on a recent walk through the winding, stone alleys on the way to the front line.
Centuries ago, it took Muslims from this area months in a caravan to make the pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, which is now part of Saudi Arabia.
Except perhaps for dedicated Russophiles, composer Vissarion Shebalin will most likely be a welcome new discovery. He was a student of Nikolay Myaskovsky, highly respected by Prokofiev and a close friend of Shostakovich.