These days, Rumi has become something of a New Age-y sage. His almost 800-year-old, Middle-Eastern wisdom has been translated in ways that seem to package it for Twitter feeds and yoga posters: “Patience is the key to joy.” “Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.”
But in a world-premiere concert from the Verdigris Ensemble, seven poems of Rumi’s are being presented with the utmost seriousness and artistry. The new show, opening this weekend at the Moody Performance Hall, is called Shams. It’s a multi-media concert combining choral singing, a Dallas Symphony string quartet and elaborate digital projections, some of which will be painted and improvised live, during each performance.
All this music and electronic artistry concern just two men — Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, popularly known as Rumi, and Shams Tabrizi. The two met in 1244 — for all of 40 days.