This CD contains 4 compositions of Hossein Alizâdeh
1 . Ney - Navâ (Concerto for Ney and String Orchestra),
2 . Avây-e Mehr (Songs of Compassion),
3 . Nowruz,
4 . Savârân-e dast-e omid (Riders in the Field of Hope)
The witness in the corner, September 4, 2004
Reviewer: "nsabba" (Brookline, MA)
It can't be but because of passion and love for his rich musical inheritance that Hossein Alizadeh can bring hereto hidden voices from traditional Persian music to shine as the center pieces of a complex composition in which he invites the Western system as a universal "goushe".
Goushes can be loosely called "variations" within a single compositional system [dastgah] in Persian traditional music. But it is much more complex than that. Goushes have more to do with recalling possibilities demanded by the temporal understanding of the music at hand than a set way of interpretation. So, to call the "Western" guest a goushe may sound sacrilegious to some purists.
But given that goushe has many interpretations, let me the liberty to interpret it as more linguistically as "witness", rather than "corner", as it is usually done. Later you will see that this "witness" will get involved with equal stature.
Goushe was the person who would sit in one of the several rooms surrounding a traditional residential entry hall in Iran. The person would listen to the business or legal conversations of his master and his guests and be a "witness" or a reminder. The goushe would not participate in person as a sign of respect for the guests. But a goushe was legally equivalence of a physically present witness. The gouche's ear was all that mattered, and like a written account, it wouldn't carry any interpretations of the physical interaction of the parties. To use a gouche was an accepted practice when a witness with the same stature of the guest could not be brought in.
Thus we can imagine that here Hossein Alizadeh brings in Western "forms" to witness the nearly infinite array of possibilities in seemingly rigid Persian compositional system. This witnessing affects how the witnessed act and play.
Each western tempo, be it dance, military, or processional, brings out melodies and rhythms from Persian dastgahs in a one to one and then one to many relationships. A single western form evokes multitude Persian "shapes". But, beyond the playful game of precedence, there is also the interplay between the dastgahs in this new environment created by introducing a foreign witness.
Alizadeh goes a long way toward showing that by "witnessing" the Persian through the formalized, often linear western system, we can dust off lost insights and express musical ideas that truly have no edge, no border, nor fronts. The linear becomes tesseletated into fractured wholes.
The number of layers of patterns in these compositions is no less than interwoven patterns "flattened" onto a single surface in the tile designs of the sixteenth century masters. By weaving natural and geometric layers into stories forbidden by the religious sytem or "dastgah" the tile designers mixed human concepts and natural shapes to express the harmony between the two. Thus, a third wonderful game in these compositions appears as the place of natural "voice".
In these pieces Persian melodies are usually voiced by the ney while Western melodies by strings. Then the presence of a natural voice, although abstracted, changes this. In these instance Western melodies voice through the Ney. Similarly for percussion instruments. The daf and the tomabak take turns carrying the two systems, adding new layers of geometric "pattern".
These studies by Mr. Alizadeh accumulate added significance as time goes on. One discovers, and resolves, new complexities with each listening, with the pieces becoming more mystifying in their clarity. One can hear the joy, sadness, and mythical ecstasies of different poems in major dastgahs which here commingle in the presence of a new "witness" [goushe].
Hossein Alizadeh is convincing us that this "witness" SHOULD be made a permanent friend.