Persian Songs from Timurid Period (14th Century) to Today


World Music Institute Presents
Global Salon with Bahar Movahed (vocal), Ali Samadpour (tar), Navid Kandelousi (violin, kamncheh, tombak)
Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York City
17 April 2013

In her New York debut at the Thalia, Tehran born and bred polymath Bahar Movahed introduced a sold-out house to eight centuries of Persian song, accompanied by master instrumentalists Ali Samadpour and Navid Kandelousi.

Movahed’s learned program notes are the best place to start:

“In this concert we are presenting the art of the ballad (tasnif or taraneh). Our program starts with pieces from the 14th century and ends with post-modern pieces by Ali Samadpour. This is the first time that such a concert is being performed, and I am thrilled to be performing this journey with Ali Samadpour and Navid Kandelousi. What we see and hear in this concert is the evolution of composition based on factors such as rhythm, scales, and poetry.

Timurid Period
“In the Timurid period (14th and 15th century), the music contained maqams (collection of ancient tunes and melodies) and a developed series of rhythmic scales – the same as sonatas, concertos, and symphonies in Western classical music. The composer’s job was to mix the ancient melodies and the rhythmic scales in order to make a new melody which was still largely based on the original form. The singer was not responsible for the meaning of the lyrics as much as he was for the spirit of the music. Music and poetry were combined with each other to create a third language of emotion and feeling regardless of the meaning of the poem….

Qajar Era
“In the Qajar era (18th century), the previous approach to music was totally lost. The use of Iranian classical poetry was pushed aside and the lyrics were created by either the composers themselves or a few songwriters….

Pahlavi Era
“Later on and in the Pahlavi era (20th century), Persian music became largely poetry-based. The singer’s first responsibility was to stress the meaning of the poem by performing it correctly. Due to this approach combined with a desire to compose on a variety of rhythms and tempos, classical Persian poetry became popular again amongst the musicians. Today this is still the main approach to Persian traditional music….

Contemporary Persian Songs
“Ali Samadpour’s pieces could be considered post-modern in a sense that they do not limit themselves to the early scales of Timurid music and at the same time do not necessarily have the characteristics of the Qajar period….”

In the course of their debut concert, Movahed, Samadpour and Kandelousi brought eight centuries of Iranian culture to life for a roomful of appreciative New Yorkers. Let us hear more!