The CalArts Student Indian Ensemble, under the direction of Aashish Khan, presents a half-concert of exciting new compositions. The Persian Music Ensemble under the direction of Houman Pourmehdi performs three compositions by Grand Master Ali Akbar Shanazi, and one by Master Parviz Meshkatian, In Dastgah Shur, whose influence on Iranian music was felt for decades.
In many ways all Persian art work springs from and works toward the reunification of man with God. The Persian belief in the ability of the arts, and music in particular, to effect the soul is seen in ancient myths pertaining to the creation of the world and humankind. It is believed that the sound of the heavenly orbs and creation resonates through living beings, and that Adam's soul was tempted to enter his body by the music that angles created therein Taarz.
There are many spiritual relationships between music and poetry. Many formal relationships also exist between the two modes of expression. For example, poems are composed of self-sufficient double-verses (beyts), while dastgahs are composed of more or less autonomous gushes. Also, as Hafez once said, "Writing poetry is like stringing random pearls", meaning that the particular beyts, though they may shed some light on the meaning of the poem, are really not essential or sequentially specific to its essence. That is to say, the meaning of the poem would remain intact if some of the beyts were altogether omitted, or if their order were reversed. Likewise, the essence of the dastgah is the daramad, with the gushes serving an almost secondary, and unessential function. Nonetheless, just as one cannot mix random gushes together to obtain a viable dastgah, the beyts must be treated in a careful and precise manner to make for a meaningful development. Indeed, very few are well versed, talented, or presumptuous enough to take many liberties with the poetic and musical repertoire. Furthermore, in both forms, the artist resorts to a well established repertoire of devices for expanding and ornamenting ideas. Lastly, the rhythmic pattern of poetry, underlies many of the commonly used musical rhythms, and commonly used musical rhythms have served as the foundation for many a poem.
Ali Akbar Shahnazi (1897 – March 1985) was an Iranian musician, composer and Grand master of the Tar. He started his musical training at the age of six with his father Mirza Hosseingholi. After five years he reached at the level that he was able to teach some of his father's students. At the age of 14 recorded two gramophone disks by playing tar in Avaz-e-Afshari and Avaz-e-Bayat-e-Tork accompanying the great vocalist Jenab Damavandi. He established the Shahnazi Music School in 1929. He comes from a music family called in Persian Khandan-e-Honar that literally means art dynasty. Master Shanazi had recorded his father's radif in 1962. He recorded his own radif in 1977. The Maestro remains active in recording, composing, and writing, and his work will continue to enrich Persian music for many years to come.
Parviz Meshkatian (May 15, 1955 – September 21, 2009) was an Iranian musician, composer, researcher and university lecturer. Born at Nishapur. Meshkatian entered the Tehran Academy of Arts, where he studied music theory and was introduced to radif (the Persian classical music repertoire) by the masters Nour Ali Boroumand, Dariush Safvat, Mohammad Taghi Massoudieh, and Mehdi Barkeshli. He focused on the radif of Mirza Abdollah for santur and setar. Meshkatian was one of the founding members of the Aref Ensemble, founded in 1977, and the Sheyda ensemble. He was also one of the founding members of the Chavosh Artistic and Cultural Foundation. The Chavosh foundation has played a major role in the development of Iranian music for a few decades. As a leading figure and a santur virtuoso, he has introduced many new santur performance techniques and, by adding new instruments, changed the color of the sound associated with ensemble orchestration.
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