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SAILING WIND

For Solo Vibraphone
In Three Movements

Score cover for Sailing Wind
The title Sailing Wind is inspired by the desire to ride the wind (the vibrations of the vibraphone) and to sail with it to visit the twenty-three percussionists from across North America who commissioned the work. It is written in 3 movements - From the East (meditative), From the West (soulful, jazz and blues influence), and From North and South (joyful).

See this new work performed by Jason Edwards at the University of Arkansas on March 21, 2010 (performance link below).
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SECRETS OF THE SKY AND EARTH
For Marimba

Score cover for Secrets of the Sky and the Earth
Secrets of the Sky and Earth was conceived as an exploration of the vibrational possibilities of the marimba. Performance of this piece requires the player to be extremely in-tune with the instrument and the space they are performing in and to strive to create a connection with the listeners.

Secrets of the Sky and Earth was written by Halim El-Dabh at the request of Blake Tyson. After Tyson was accepted at the Eastman School of Music, he contacted El-Dabh and asked him to write a piece for him to premier at Eastman.

This piece calls for multiple roll types (esp. independent rolls) and requires the player to be very smooth when changing techniques. An excellent performance piece that will connect with the audience as well as show off technical proficiency. 

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ARIA FOR STRINGS

Score cover Aria for Strings
Aria For Strings was written by Halim El-Dabh in 1949 when he was 28 years old. He wrote the pieces during a deep reflective moment, experiencing feelings about leaving his beloved Egypt for the creative industrial United States.

The work opens up with the first violins in A major expressing a soft tender theme over  an F sharp minor suspended chord treated like a petal point. The work continues with subtle contrapunctual relations featuring the violas while retaining the overall tapestry of nostalgia. It ends with the celli over suspended strings supported by the basses.

El-Dabh attended informal performances of his Aria For Strings at The Institute of Oriental Music in Cairo in 1949. 
The piece was not performed again until Nov. 17, 2007 at a program by the Rocky River Chamber Music Society at The West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, OH, performed by the Hausman Quartet comprised of Isaac Allen - violin, Bram Goldstein - violin, Laura Burns - viola, Yuan Zhang - cello with guest Bryan Thomas on bass. This performance appears on the CD Chambers & Concertos, 2009 by Halim El-Dabh Music LLC.

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STRING QUARTET

Score cover for String Quartet
The quartet opens with cello playing low pizzicato allowing for a delicate sound decay. These plucked notes are repeated to express a determination  to stay on the course. To this the first violin resonates with the Egyptian folk tune in high artificial harmonics. This is expressed on a two quarter tones maqam bespeaking the thirst for finding oneself. The Egyptian folk tune translates into "I'm thirsty oh my countrymen - please show me the way to quench my thirst." It is a thirst for knowledge and for the unknown. It is also a search for self realization. The second violin and the viola interact in a battle with each other with harsh tremolos played near the bridge of their instruments expressing restlessness of what might be in store ahead. 
Again it is delicately overshadowed by the main theme of hope on high harmonics.
In the second movement musicians are seated on the edge of their chairs asserting a strong will for all open possibilities.
In the third movement all the strings play sordini except the 'cello, creating a sonorus dark tapestry with a touch of meloncholy. Over such fabric the 'cello sings an undetermined melody of longing, a melody which has no beginning and no end.
In the fourth movement, excitement sets in with dancing intricate rythmic nuances for joy. It expresses hope and the release of tension.
In the fifth movement it is nighttime in the hot desert bringing mystery into the environment with unexpected tiny sparks of light.
Finally all the instruments join together into a fugue of long phrases interwoven and coiling with one another with occasional clusters based on Arabic maqam scales. This brings the quartet to its accomplished journey.

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TWO MINUTES TRIO FOR STRINGS

Score cover Two Minutes Trio for Strings
Two Minutes Trio for Strings opens with strong rhythmic dissonances. The dissonances are the driving force of the piece from beginning to end. They are interrupted by quiet lyrical violin themes in counterpoint with reflective responses from viola and cello. The piece ends with a powerful unison of short dramatic statements tapering off with cello pizzicato snapping against the wood of the instrument while the violin is tapping the wood of the back of the bow against the open G string.

Two Minutes Trio for Strings was written in 1956 by Halim El-Dabh while on his way to a party at the home of Harold Rogers, the music critic for The Christian Science Monitor.


El-Dabh had been informed that there would be a three string players present. So he set out to writing an impromptu piece for them to perform. The piece was not performed again until Nov. 17, 2007 at a program by the Rocky River Chamber Music Society at The West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio. It was performed by the Hausman Quartet (Isaac Allen - violin, Bram Goldstein - violin, Laura Burns - viola, Yuan Zhang - cello). This performance was released on the CD Chambers & Concertos, 2009 by Halim El-Dabh Music LLC.

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THE QUEST

Score cover The Quest
The Quest, composed in 2006, is scored for full symphonic orchestra. It is written in three movements, The Globe, The Land Beyond and Celebrations. The idea of the title The Quest is to bring all the energies of the three movements together into one.

The Globe opens with large suspended cymbals and three large tam tams uniquely performed by rubbing superballs on the inner circular rough side of the tam tam. This creates a special friction vibration that can subtly fill up the concert hall.

The second movement, The Land Beyond, starts with string basses establishing an articulate compelling theme which gradually builds up with the rest of the strings, creating interactions with short motifs from woodwinds and brass. 
The movement ends with a reprise from The Globe with tam tam vibrations.

The third movement, Celebrations, opens with extended vibrations with the special effect of all the strings playing behind the bridge. The tension increases with wind like undulations which are played by woodwinds and brass blowing air into the tubes of their instruments with short vocal utterances inviting the people of the world to celebrate.

Lively repeated rythms are played as solo musicians leave the stage and greet the visiting dignitaries. The work ends with continual resonances in the concert hall reminding the audience of what was experienced.

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POMEGRANATE CONCERTO
For Alto Sax and Strings

Score cover for Pomegranate Concerto
The Pomegranate Concerto is composed for alto sax and string orchestra. The work focuses on the shape and structure of the delightfully tasty pomegranate fruit. Ideas and themes are expressed in dialogues between the sax and string group. The fruit has a copper-toned cover protecting the jewel like seeds in small compartments; expressing a mystery of relationship according to Egyptian riddle. The saxophone utilizes lyrical themes with sparkling responses from strings and at times
dissonances and clusters of multiphonic tones.

The work is in three continuous movements. Layers Over Layers in Oceans Submarine, Pearls Within, and Tones of Copper. The Pomegranate Concerto was commissioned by the Rocky River Chamber Music Society, Ohio. It premiered on
November 19, 2007 at The West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio, performed by alto sax soloist Greg Banazak with The Hausman Quartet - violinists Isaac Allen and Bram Goldstein, violist Lauren Burns, cellist Yuan Zhang plus Bryan Thomas on bass.

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THE MIRACULOUS TALE

Score cover The Miraculous Tale
The Miraculous Tale was written by Halim El-Dabh in 2006 for alto saxophone and derabucca drum. It is written in three movements entitled Lightening, Tenderness and Stratosphere.

Although the derabucca is small, it possesses an almost infinitely wide range of tones and timbres, ranging from very high, delicate and crystaline tones to powerful, deep and resonant ones. The three main pitch levels used in The Miraculous Tale are dum, ma and tak representing a continuum ranging from low to high. The small note heads represent an embellishment to the main rhythm. The "slap" technique is executed by slapping the outstretched hand, with fingers together, against the drum head. 

The sound should be particularly sharp and works best if the hand is slightly cupped (with thumb underneath), with the fingertips contacting the drum head near the center. This technique takes somewhat more practice and cultivation to get it just right. When the technique of inserting the hand into the bell to vary the pitch is called for, either hand may be used for this purpose, according to the player's preference.

The quarter tone featured in the saxophone part of the second movement represents a pitch that is midway between F sharp and A actually one quarter tone lower than the G sharp. It is part of the Arabic maqam known as Bayati.

The Miraculous Tale was commissioned by the World-Wide Concurrent Premieres and Commissioning Fund, Inc. El-Dabh attended the performance on his birthday on March 4, 2007 at Granoff Hall at Tuffs University with Ken Radnofsky on alto sax and Takaaki Masuko on derabucca.

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IT IS DARK AND DAMP ON THE FRONT

Score Dark and Damp
It Is Dark and Damp on the Front is a solo piano work expressing the darkness and dampness that are germinated in the very psyche of humanity whilst fighting at a war front, a murky front that exists in reality inside every human being.

The world premiere took place with the composer at the piano in Cairo, Egypt at The Assembly Hall of All Saints Cathedral on Friday February 11, 1949. Halim El-Dabh performed his composition on a nine foot Pleyel piano equipped with three pedals. He shook the audience into a standing ovation. This single work changed his life from an agricultural engineer to a music composer.
The composition fell into the hands of Aaron Copland. Intrigued by El-Dabh's ultra modern style, he invited him to become his composition student at Tanglewood at The Berkshire Music Festival in the USA. There he also studied with Irving Fine, Luigi Dallapiccola and Leonard Bernstein.

A French critic, A. J. Patry wrote in La Bourse Egyptienne, commending the composer for his innovative use of sound and pedal techniques stated that "El-Dabh touches the instrument in a fashion of his own. He molds and fuses the sonorities of the piano producing sounds and feelings pertaining to a basic culture. He has exposed the European ear to a different way of playing. One must notice the way he uses the pedals, producing from simple elements, complex superpositions of harmonies." (Feb. 15, 1949).

El-Dabh describes his technique of composing as "heteroharmony", a term he coined by combining heterophony and chordal harmony in an interaction of chords and clusters with a focus on the unison.

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EGYPTIAN CALYPSO

Score Egyptian Calypso
When composing Egyptian Calypso, Halim El-Dabh felt a connection between the music of his childhood and that of Trinidad and Tobago. His imagination took him from Egypt to the Andalusian culture of Morocco and Spain, and the Arab troubadors of medieval times whose travels created a cross-pollination of music throughout Europe. From there, his imagination jumped the ocean to Trinidad and Tobago where the music that had been cared for by the  troubadours landed with the French colonists. With the arrival of the British, yet another layer of music was added to the culture of the islands. Egyptian Calypso is about the almost magical possibility of music. The ability of music to travel the world, to combine with other styles, and to create sounds and ideas that, just before the meeting, seemed beyond imagination.


"Imagine a reed boat, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, carrying the secrets of ancient Egypt to a Caribbean carnival. Composed for Steel Drum, Egyptian Calypso's intricate harmonies dance with energy, reminding the listener of an traditional Egyptian dance reframed within an island rhythm."

Notes by Deborah and Halim El-Dabh and Fred Pierre

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SWEET AND PRICKLY PEAR
for Violin and Derabucca

Score Sweet and Prickly Pear

Sweet and Prickly Pear was inspired by the composer Halim El-Dabh’s childhood memories of this fruit:

“In early morning hot summers in Heliopolis, Egypt, I would  wake up with a strong desire for prickly pears. With anxiety I would wait for the push cart vendor who would usually come to the house shouting and singing, “teen shoky” - meaning “thorny figs” which comes in variable colors of green, red and gold.

The vendor would skillfully separate the thorns from the fruit before he allowed me to devour it. The feeling of delight and satisfaction settled in especially after realizing that the hair-like needles did not touch my skin.

Writing for the violin and derabucca allowed me to express that rush of excitement that vibrates in musical terms as acute rythmic splashes interwoven with variable snatches and motifs awakening deep intricate resonances joining the violin and the derabucca in union.

The “lazma” is that integral part of the composition which makes it possible for the bow to dance on the violin string and for the fingers to bounce on the derabucca.

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BELLY DANCE CLASSIC
Co-Composed by Charles J. Coven and Halim El-Dabh
For Percussion and Woodwind Quartet

Score Belly Dance Classic
Belly Dance Classic was created by Halim El-Dabh and Charles J. Coven employing traditional Arabic rhythms and drumming sonorities that are open to improvisation.
The piece commences with a mysterious slow crescendo that increases in dynamics into an energetic dance of life and harmony.  The interaction between linear lines reflects the life that is found in conception in a woman's belly.

Belly Dance Classic is written for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, maracas, tambourine or zills, 2 djembes, 3 or 4 derabucca, and double bass.  Other percussion instruments may be added for improvisation. The woodwind parts can be substituted or combined with other instruments in order to create the performers own interpretation of the work.

El-Dabh and Coven decided in 2004 that they wanted to co-compose a dance piece for belly dance. Coven started writing the music and then El-Dabh added to it, which was the beginning of a lively exchange. At times, they would both sit together and work on the score side by side, trying out their new creations. The music should be viewed as a loose blue print; thus, performers are encouraged to improvise. "The most beautiful things are found in the spur of the moment", Coven attests to. El-Dabh says that "the music remains true to the  Arabic melismatic passages."

El-Dabh and Coven wrote Belly Dance Classic for Coven's senior class in "Compositional Theory" at Kent State University. It was performed April 8, 2004 at the Kent State Auditorium under the baton of the late John Ferrito.

Charles J. Coven is a composer whose music seems to echo slow moving herds of elephants on empty plains of cattle or battles between gods on cracked soil. He came to music and composition later than most. At the age of 17, after only one year of piano lessons, Coven played Edvard Grieg's Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. But it was Chopin's music that enticed Coven to commit his life to music and composition.

Coven studied piano, composition and theory at Kent State University, receiving a dual  bacherlor's degree in composition and theory from Kent State University.  Shortly after, he received a Masters in composition from California State University, Long Beach. He has studied composition with Halim El-Dabh, John Ferrito, Carolyn Bremer, and Michael Daugherty. Currently, he actively composes and manages his own music studio in Kent, Ohio where he also teaches piano, guitar, and composition, Recently, Coven has been composing theatrical music and works that explores the juxtaposition of tonal and atonal sonorities, He enjoys collaborating with other artists musicians, such as Gehrin Deutch and Halim El-Dabh.

El-Dabh's works are comprised of chamber, opera, symphony, ballet, orchestra and electronic music which are inspired from the heart of the cultures of Africa and Asia. His works have been performed world wide at such notable venues as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, Cairo Opera House, Metropolitan Opera House, Paris Chatelet Theatre, Beijing Central Conservatory, Herodius Atticus, The Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Broadway theaters. They are published by Halim El-Dabh Music LLC, CF Peters, Oxford University Press, Smith Publications/Sonic Art Editions, and Mark Batty Publisher.

El-Dabh is presently University Professor Emeritus at Kent State University where he continues to teach a class entitled "African Cultural Expressions". His field research includes Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Zaire. He has held previous teaching positions at Haile Selassie University and Howard University. He is the recipient of two Rockefeller Foundation fellowships, two Fullbright Awards, two Guggenheim Fellowships, three residences at the McDowell Colony and grants from Meet The Composer, Ohio Arts Council, The American Philosophical Society, and Kent State University. He holds an honorary doctorate from New England Conservatory and Kent State University.

El-Dabh's works portray a unique synthesis of ancient civilizations and contemporary composition techniques as well as new systems of notation. His compositions are a fusion of sounds from the soul of ancient Egypt with modern day musical ideas from around the world.


Notes by Halim El-Dabh, Deborah El-Dabh and Charles J. Coven
Notes edited by Leatrice Bard Tolls

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SYMPHONY FOR ONE THOUSAND DRUMS
Outdoor in a football field or indoor in a
concert hall with a minimum of 40 musicians

Score Symphony for One Thousand Drums
Instructions:
       
First Line -  Deep Voices and Chanting, Deep Sounding Drums
such as djembe, conga, frame drum and similar. Bass drum
for indoor performance.

Second, Third and Fourth Lines - agogo African double bells
may be sustituted with various sized cow bells and various
mallet percussion such as marimba and xylophone for both
outdoor and indoor performances.
        
Fif th and Sixth Lines - heavy and medium bells similar to those
of church bells may be substituted by tubular orchestra bells 
for both outdoor and indoor performances.

The Seventh through Twelfth Lines - portray a planned formulated chaos leading to a balanced order. These lines are identified by color and graphic music notation which should be displayed on large banners. They are to be freely interpreted  by percussion instruments different from the first six lines.

Examples are ceramic sounds, wooden sounds, and low earthen deep vibration sound. The color red is interpreted for warmth and fire, blue for calmness and serenity, gold for excitement, brilliance and joy.
                
This section is composed with graphic music notation. Volunteers should be available to help with interpretation. The last six lines engage nature's energy of balance, beauty, wisdom, love and fresh water portrayed by the ancient dieties Maat the Goddess of balance, Isis the Goddess of Motherhood and compassion, and Oshun the Goddess of fresh water.

Each line of the symphony score requires multiple functions and participation in drumming, chanting, and dancing. Dumbek drums are suggested for the dieties Maat and Isis as well as the section called Tobbul Mazzika.

The main conductor will need ten assistant conductors each with their own score. Mallet percussion will also need a score. Volunteers will be needed to carry banners with the color and graphic music notation. The performance can either be done outdoors or indoors. For indoor concert performance a wind ensemble could be added to interpret the color and graphic music notations utilizing four tones - E, F# , A and G. Mallet percussion can also be added for the deities section.

Program notes by Halim and Deborah El-Dabh. Edited by Blake Tyson. 

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IN SEARCH OF THREE GODDESSES
For Solo Timpani

Score In Search of Three Goddesses
In 2007, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention devoted an entire day to works for solo timpani. I heard about the event at the end of 2006 and immediately called my friend and teacher Halim El-Dabh. I hoped that he would agree to compose a work that could be premiered at the convention. He was very excited about the possibility, as the idea of composing a timpani solo immediately reminded him of his mother's wedding procession in 1890's Egypt.

When Halim was a child, his mother told him the story of the celebration. She was in a small, tent-like structure on the back
of a camel, surrounded by three attendants. The procession included many musicians playing instruments, and featured 

naqurat (the clay ancestors of modern timpani). Two men riding on camelback played the drums.

Halim was inspired by the idea of the attendants as protectors, and envisioned them as three goddesses. The first as Isis, the goddess of compassion, love and motherhood, the second as Ma-a-yat, the goddess of balance and truth, and the third as Oshun. Oshun is actually a Yoruba goddess who represents fresh sweet water, the source of life. 

 Blake Tyson

In Search of Three Goddesses was premiered by Blake Tyson at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Columbus, Ohio on October 31, 2007.

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ANNOUNCING A NEWBORN

For Voice

Score cover for Announcing a Newborn
Announcing  A  Newborn, Habeeb El-Dabh was written by Halim El-Dabh upon the birth of his first and only son, Habeeb on March 24, 1979 when the composer was 57.  The original was photocopied into invitations for a celebration of the birth held at the composer's residence in Kent, Ohio which was well attended.El-Dabh's works are comprised of chamber, opera, symphony, ballet, orchestra and electronic music which are inspired from the heart of the cultures of Africa and Asia. His works have been performed world wide with such notable venues as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, Cairo Opera House, Metropolitan Opera House, Paris Chatelet Theatre, Beijing Central Conservatory, Herodius Atticus, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Broadway theaters.
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AAPEP AND RA

Narration and String Bass

Score cover for Aapep and Ra
Aapep and Ra is a solo double bass and narration written by Halim El-Dabh for Bryan Thomas in 2004 describing the struggle of two Egyptian Gods: Aapep, the God of Clouds and Ra, the God of the Sun. Halim El-Dabh introduced Thomas to the African musician-historian-social-commentator known as the Griot as he was forming his own personal sense of importance as a musician. Aapep and Ra is inspired by this Griot storytelling tradition. Though a timeless story, current events mirrored Aapep and Ra when the piece was first performed as The United States Office of the President was beating the war drum loudly, using fear and manipulation of truth to get what it wanted. Aapep and Ra describes a similar world out of balance and suggests that feminine nature may be the path to resolution. 

The work was originally performed with El-Dabh as the narrator, expanding and improvising on the original text, at times chanting along with the music. The original text has since found its way to some other plane of existence and is recreated here from performance recordings. Many of the spontaneous additions are included. The current edition also allows for the bassist to also be the narrator.

Bryan Thomas teaches double bass at Kent State University, where he received his Bachelor in Music Performance. His major teachers have been Anthony Knight, Scott Haigh and Mark Atherton of the Cleveland Orchestra and solo bass virtuoso François Rabbath. Thomas maintains a busy life performing in diverse musical situations and is grateful to El-Dabh for showing him that being a musician can be an important service to the world in its transformation.

Technical notes:

Aapep and Ra occasionally calls for the double bass to be used as a drum.

> Slap is notated as a high tone, played with the fingers of the left hand on the left bass rib.
> Heel is notated as a mid tone, played with the palm of the left hand on the left bass rib.
> Low palm is a bass tone, played with the left palm on the back of the bass.
> Strike strings with bow is notated with a box notehead. The hair at the tip of the bow is used as
a mallet on the top three strings.

In the harmonic section starting measure 115, an occasional F and F# is needed where there is no harmonic possible. Stop these notes but keep a harmonic-like sound with the bow.

Notes written by Bryan Thomas
Noted edited by Deborah El-Dabh

Aapep and Ra is published by Halim El-Dabh Music LLC
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CANINE WISDOM

Halim El-Dabh Color Music Notation

Score for Canine Wisdom
So goes the legend - Dog, man's best friend, risked his life to pull man out of the abyss. But man alas responds to the dog with commands and an authoritative attitude. The dog covers his ears - the dog done gone deaf.

Created with this in his mindseye, Halim El-Dabh weaves a synthesis of resonances which evoke down to earth sounds mixed with the mystical and magical realms. He  writes for an extended range in all the instruments, stemming from a desire to transcend limits and to push beyond norms. He holds onto traditional elements and stays the authentic while layering his tonal explorations in pursuit of new dimensions of sounds. Truly avant-garde and eclectic. Written for string bass, baritone sax, bass flute, piano, vocal, violin, oud and percussion. 
The painting can be played in any direction. The size of the circles represents volume and rhythm and displays different harmonies with frequencies overlapping.

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OUT OF THE ABYSS

Halim El-Dabh Color Music Notation

Score for Out of the Abyss
The frequencies of color music reflect the inferno of the abyss that man manages to escape through the same vibrant colors and frequencies that ancient man used to guide him out of the abyss. Out of the Abyss is part of a larger musical work along with Canine Wisdom entitled The Dog Done Gone Deaf  written by Halim El-Dabh for The Barking Dog Sextet performed in 2007 at the Suoni Per Il Populo in Montreal.

Written for string bass, baritone sax, bass flute, piano, vocal, violin, oud and percussion. The size of the circles represents volume and rhythm and displays different harmonies with frequencies overlapping.

Includes Two Page Western Score 

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