Ali Rahbari & Recording Iranian Symphonic Compositions

by: Sadjad Pourghanad & Mahboube Khalvai


In the few days prior to the New Iranian year (March 2015), the news of the revival of Tehran Symphony Orchestra under Ali (Alexander) Rahbari’s conductorship was announced. Ali Rahbari, who served as assistant to Herbert von Karajan in Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at a very young age, was also invited to conduct Tehran Symphony Orchestra in 2005; however, the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government put an end to his collaboration with this Orchestra. Recently, it was announced that Rahbari is invited to conduct an orchestra in the U.S.
Ali Rahbari is the most prolific Iranian conductor throughout the world. Writing about the activities of such a renowned Iranian musician on this international scale, tends to become redundant as much is written and said about him.
It does not go amiss to review his years at the National Conservatory of Music in Iran in order to contextualize his years as a young ambitious musician though. Ali Rahbari is a graduate of National Conservatory of Music where he also served as Principal (simultaneously with holding the same position at the Higher Conservatory of Music) during his years prior to immigration.
One of the major characteristics of musicians who have studied at the National Conservatory of Music while Hossein Dehlavi was the Principal is special attention to the Iranian music. Contrary to the Higher Conservatory of Music which solely focused on understanding and performing the Western Classical music with its extensive repertoire, the National Conservatory of Music directed close attention to the Iranian instrument and Iranian music.
Most of the graduates from the National Conservatory of Music are familiar with playing one or two Iranian instruments besides their main instrument. Ali Rahbari is not an exception; he plays tonbak and santour as well and has a comprehensive knowledge of the Iranian music.
In addition to engendering nationalist feelings, engagement with the Iranian music leads to bonding with the new repertoire of the classical music especially non-Western works; a qualification which some of the graduates of the Higher Conservatory of Music and those of many conservatories throughout the world lack. As a matter of fact, due to rehearsing and performing works by prominent classical musicians for too many hours, students make a fetish of them and consider composing as an unforgivable mistake and as disrespect for the great composers while they lack the ability to criticize and understand new realities of composing.
At the National Conservatory of Music and at the instruction of the Principal, Hossein Dehlavi, the students were encouraged and required to take courage and compose to the best of their capabilities. No carelessness in composing was accepted and works must have been defensible.
Ali Rahbari studied violin in the National Conservatory of Music but was attracted to conducting and composing very soon. As a result of this, he composed works, such as “Persian Blood on Sol”, a concerto (concertino) for violin “Noheh Khan”, Half Moon, Persian Ballet to name but a few, which are among the most valuable Iranian symphonic compositions.
During his many years of conducting various symphony orchestras all over the world, Ali Rahbari seldom stand the chance of conducting works by Iranian composers including him. The following, however, is the list of Iranian symphonic creations recorded under Ali Rahbari’s baton:
Persian Symphonic Manzoumeh (Symphonic Poems from Persia): the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra was commissioned by the pre-Revolution Iranian government to record this album. The album includes compositions by Hossein Dehlavi (1927), Ahmad Pejman (1937), Houshang Ostovar (1927), Mohammad Taghi Masoudieh (1927-1998), Aminoullah (André) Hossein (1905-1983) and Ali Rahbari.
* Manzoumeh: a long narrative poem
Bizhan and Manizheh for String Orchestra by Hossein Dehlavi: the album was recorded in Austria prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and was produced in Iran along with another work, composed and conducted, by Dehlavi entitled “Shour Afarin.”
Mani and Mana Opera by Hossein Dehlavi: Ali Rahbari sponsored the recording of the musical parts by Slovak Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava; however, the vocal parts are still outstanding (due to the ban on solo performances by women vocalists in Iran); hence, the album still awaiting its release.
Iraneh Khanom by Peyman Soltani (1971): the album was recorded by Slovak Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava. It is currently being mixed.
Persian Mysticism around G by Ali Rahbari: the album, which was recorded prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was recently issued in CD format (being originally produced in gramophone format). The CD version includes some new pieces.
Mirage by Ahmad Pejman: this piece which was part of “Taksavare Eshq” album is no longer available.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*
Your email is never shared.

Parviz Meshkatian’s Heart Beat for People (I)

Amidst the popularity of traditionalism in the Iranian music, Parviz Meshkatian (1955- 2009) moved from Neyshabur to Tehran. He learnt to play Santour and became educated in the Radif of Iranian music at the Centre for Preservation and Promotion of Music which was at the forefront of promoting the return to musical traditions. Despite his studies at a centre which promoted the use of the phrase “traditional music” in Iran, Parviz Meshkatian emerged as a creative artist whose innovative and unique ideas attracted the admiration of Iranian artists and people from different walks of life. This article studies the reason behind Meshkatian’s deviation from the wrong approach of traditionalism strongly promoted by the Centre and argues that apart from the issue of theory of Iranian music, he can be considered as Ali Naqi Vaziri’s successor.

Farshad Sanjari, Forgotten Iranian Conductor Met His Tragic End

Farshad Sanjari, one of the most renowned Iranian conductors in the 1970s in Iran died after fire broke in his apartment in Vienna on November 22, 2019. Farshad Sanjari was not involved in politics; however, he was one of the victims of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, his name was never seen as the conductor of any programmes.

From Past Days…

The Mystery of Messiah

Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 18 December 1737) was an Italian luthier and is considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field.

The First Saba Student Music Festival Concluded in Tehran

Preparations for Saba Student Music Festival started in the summer of 2016; the Student Music Festival will be held annually by the students of music at Arts University. The first part of the closing ceremony of the Festival was dedicated to the celebration of the life, work and strives by Maestro Hossein Dehlavi to upgrade the level of music as an academic discipline. The name of the award-winning students and ensembles were announced at the second part of the ceremony.

Ashoura Opera

Ashura Opera was composed by Behzad Abdi, the Iranian composer, in 2008 based on librettos compiled by Behrouz Gharib. The main source for the libretto is poems by Mohtasham Kashani, a sixteenth century Iranian poet.

Principles of Playing Violin (IV)

Principles of Playing Violin (IV)

Pattern No.3/1 Left hand finger Placement: 3/1/1: Landing Fingers on one String: In preliminary stages of training, an apprentice should pay attention to the principle of keeping fingers while placing them on the fingerboard. Professional violinists pay less attention to this principle. Novice player’s complying with this principle, in preliminary stages of training, has several…
Read More »

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs was held in Niavaran Cultural Center, in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 28th, 2015. The initiator of the festival was Sajjad Pourghanad, Iranian music writer, researcher, founder of the festival and Persian setar and tar player.

Iannis Xenakis’ Persephassa

Shiraz Arts Festival which was held in Shiraz from 1967 to 1977 featured many contemporary renowned artists who were commissioned by the Iranian royalty to compose or create works of art for performance in the arts festival. Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) participated in Shiraz Arts Festival three times in 1968, 1969 and 1971. The Greek-French composer,…
Read More »

Layla Ramezan, Iranian Pianist

Iranian pianist Layla Ramezan has always sought to create a connection between her Persian origin and the contemporary music which she encounters daily. Sound, phrasing, a particular sense of rhythm and a refined understanding of the “time of musical development” are the foremost qualities of her interpretations. Her musical and pianistic education began in Tehran at the age of 8 with Mostafa-Kamal Poortorab. Having moved to Paris and received a scholarship from Albert Roussel Foundation, she integrated the classes of Jean Micault and Devi Erlih at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, where she received a Diplôme de Virtuosité in piano performance and chamber music.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (I)

Joint application of the two techniques of “Lip” and “Nose” could be effectively applied for hearing and playing far-away intervals, by the Classical Guitar. Before this, a Classical Guitar player had to waive playing intervals not possible with the left hand, and had to replace or eliminate some notes, making it possible to play such intervals; specifically the capability of the left hand of the musician, was also a factor in such a selection. These methods are hereby illustrated by photographs and a video-file, in order to provide optimum comprehension of applying these methods, invented by the author; specifically the “Lip” technique, which is considered to be a more significant technique, emphasized by the author.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (II)

When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where the Nose Technique was generated.

Principles of Violin Playing (VII)

4.3.1.3 Regarding the great linear distance and the unusual distance between the first and forth fingers, the first finger while playing the doubles of ninth and tenth interval, can be twisted in the knuckle area and the point mentioned in 3.1.2.5 paragraph in relation to the way first finger is placed indicating that the first joint of this finger in back of hand must be in line with the direction of forearm and left hand is not true here.