Surendran Reddy wrote lebanon in his home town of Konstanz, Germany as an angry ‘diatribe against war’, as he says at the head of the score. It was his response to the 34-day Lebanese War (also called the Israel-Hezbollah War) of July-August 2006, in which well over 1000 civilians were killed and more than a million people displaced. With such horrific events and statistics constantly in the news in so many parts of the world, lebanon now has an even wider relevance. Reddy abhorred conflict and violence of all kinds, he was an avowed pacifist, and also a cultural activist, campaigning, especially towards the end of his life, for the rights of artists to economic dignity as well as free expression. The piece is intended as a jazz trio or quartet. Indeed, as with Reddy’s other jazz pieces, it could be arranged to suit any available players. Typically for Reddy, the piano part is almost fully written out, and so the piece can also be played solo. Some improvisation is required almost throughout but there are passages in which Reddy gives instructions about improvisation. The structure of lebanon is that of a jazz standard, with repeated sections for solos, a middle section with changes of key and a different time signature, and a reprise. There are several different versions of the score, mostly dating from August 2006, and the last-dated is used for this publication.
2006-7 was a period in Reddy’s life when he was working frenetically on several pieces that epitomise his ‘clazz’ style, this being a combination of classical pianism, jazz and world music that he theorized in his ‘10 principles of clazz’. When he says in bar 137, then, that ‘this is only an example: improvise chords in this pattern according to 2nd harmonic law as accompaniment for drum solo’, what he is referring to is his 2nd principle of clazz, which he also called ‘surendran’s 2nd law of harmony’, which is that ‘any note can be harmonized by any other note’. Although by 2006 Reddy no longer really performed publicly, he played lebanon as a duo with drummer Daniel Schlaeger.