Hossein ALIZADEH / Madjid KHALADJ
IRAN: MASTERS OF IMPROVISATION
Persian music: improvisations in the Esfahan mode
The modes in Persian music follow complex and diverse rules. Thus, during an improvisation, the musician can hardly anticipate the nature of the expression sought for. It is only on the spot in the presence of an audience that this expression can come about. Without an audience such a phenomenon certainly requires much more strength and concentration from the interpreter.
The very conception of the different modes in Persian music is the fruit of various states of inner feelings. From dawn to dusk, we experience a multitude of emotions that can be expressed through a peculiar mode. The number of modes twelve like the twelve months of the year as well as the different melodic sequences arising from them, contribute to this phenomenon.
With their more or less symmetrical intervals, the tempered modes (such as Segah, Shur and Nava) bring about a state of calm and concentration, while others (such as Tchahargah) do not follow these criteria of equilibrium but engender a feeling of movement and agitation. There are also modes expressing something that goes beyond these time and space criteria. The feeling they generate is universal. Such is the case with Avaz-e Esfahan, evoking love and separation.
© Hossein Alizadeh
Reviewer: F. Barhami (San Diego, California)
A superb duo recording by two of Iran's greatest living instrumentalists. We'll also hear them in a trio with one of Iran's finest female voices. The music is impassioned, very refined, virtuosic, beautiful..& improvisatory.
Lutenist HOSSEIN ALIZADEH has worked both outside & inside Iran. He currently lives in Tehran. Hand percussionist MADJID KHALADJ, who's lived in Paris since 1984, is a masterful player of the goblet-shaped tombak. Their CD, "PERSIAN MUSIC: IMPROVISATIONS IN THE ESFAHAN MODE" was recorded in Paris in December 2000.
The album very eloquently expresses the emotions traditionally associated with the Esfahan mode: love and separation. Hossein Alizadeh plays the tar, throughout: a lute with six wire strings & 25 frets. Its mulberry wood body has a soundboard covered with a thin lamb skin; it's shaped like two hearts, joined at the tip.
* Hossein Alizadeh
Hossein Alizadeh was born in Tehran in 1951. After graduating from the Music Conservatory, he entered the School of Music of the University of Tehran in 1975 where he received his degree in composition and performance. He studied traditional Persian music with many masters of the radif (repertoire of Iranian classical music).As a soloist Hossein Alizadeh has performed throughout North America and Europe for the past ten years. His chosen instruments are the ancient plucked lutes of Persia, the tar and the setar.
In the 1980s Alizadeh performed with the National Orchestra of Iran and later became the conductor and a soloist for the Iranian National Radio and Television Orchestra. He founded the Aref Ensemble and performed with the Shayda Ensemble, two leading groups dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Iranian classical music. He performed with the orchestra of the Bejart Ballet Company in its production of Maurice Bejart’s Gulistan and, in 2000, Iran’s Ministry of Culture named him the best contemporary artist. He has composed many works of contemporary and neo-classical Iranian music as well as film scores for some of Iran’s most famous new wave films including Gabbeh, Turtles Can Fly and A Time for Drunken Horses.
Alizadeh dedicates much of his time to education. He has taught at the University of Tehran, the Tehran Music Conservatory and the California Institute of the Arts.
* Madjid Khaladj
Born in Ghazvin, Iran in 1962, Madjid Khaladj began studying the tombak at age seven. As a traditional musician and skilled pedagogue in several instruments, he is unanimously recognized as a master of Iranian percussions. Highly active internationally, he has perfomed in festivals, concerts, and conferences around the world. He has produced recordings, and art movie soundtracks (with Ry cooder and Lisa Gerrard), and has appeared in radio and television broadcasts.
In 1984, he was invited to teach Iranian percussions at the Center for Middle Eastern Music Studies at the Institute of Musicology of Paris- Sorbonne, then under the direction of Yehudi Menuhin. Using this opportunity, he has introduced many western musicians to Iranian music. In 1996, he founded the Ecole de Tombak in Paris (Center for Iranian Percussion Study). Since 1998, he has also been teaching at the State Academy of Music in Basel, Switzerland (Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel in Switzerland).
Madjid Khaladj constantly investigates the vast possibilities in improvising within the Persian musical system, and beyond. The unequalled beauty of his style, his mastery of rhythms and the brilliance of his spontaneous creations not only place him in the top ranks next to great classical Persian music masters, but also distinguish him as a major figure in world percussion.