Simorgh Criticised

arvin-sedaghatkish-motebasem-hamid-190

Simorgh (Simorq) Orchestra was founded by the renowned Iranian composer, Hamid Motebassem, in 2011. Simorgh Orchestra is the largest orchestra featuring Iranian national instruments. Although the orchestra established by Master Hossein Dehlavi, the great Iranian composer, in 1993 was larger than Simorgh Orchestra, it only featured the Iranian plucked string instruments unlike the latter one. The first album which was recorded by the Orchestra, conducted under Motebassem’s baton, was his Simorq based on Zal story from Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, the great Iranian poet.

The orchestra performed several times both in Iran and Europe led by Mohammad Reza Darvishi, Hamid Motebassem and Hooman Khalatbari with Homayoun Shajarian as the soloist singer.

The third session of Naghd-e Naghmeh (Naghmeh Criticism) series which was held in Andished Cultural Center on September, 04, 2012 was dedicated to Simorgh Album.

Five critics, Peyman Soltani, Sadjad Pourghanad, Abdolhossein Mokhtabad, Arvin Sedaghat Kish and Kamyar Salavati were invited by Abolhassan Mokhtabad to participate as the session’s critics.

Siavash Sahb Nasagh who was supposed to attend the session did not appear due to the reasons mentioned in a letter he had sent to the session moderator, Abolhasan Mokhtabad, who read it at the session’s end.

The first critic to make his remarks on the album was Peyman Soltani who stated that some Iranian musicians tried to make the Iranian music polyphonic through crossing horizontal lines. Hamid Motebassem is one of them the result of whose attempts in this connection we heard in albums such as “Bamdad” and “Bouye Norouz”.

Motebassem, however, commented that after all these years and despite the effort made by musicians ranging from Colonel Alinaghi Vaziri to Morteza Hannaneh for making the Iranian music polyphonic, we still do not have a method for polyphony. So we have to experience it on our own, that is, we achieve it by combining Iranian musical modes.
Then, Abolhassan Mokhtabad, the moderator, asked Motebassem: how does the fact that you play Iranian instruments affect your composition?
Motebassem: I started composition based on Iranian instruments and came to know their problems, capabilities and techniques through experience. So if I write for Iranian instruments, it is in accordance with those instruments.

Sadjad Porghanad, instrumentalist and opera singer, was the second critic to voice his views:
Faramarz Payvar set up an orchestra with a special combination of Iranian instruments which in the melodic aspect included both the  bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments. Later, Hossein Dehlavi more seriously proposed a larger orchestra with only plucked string instruments as he was dissatisfied with the many acoustic problems of the bowed string instruments. So he suggested a combination of plucked string instruments for performing Iranian music with specific standards. Simorgh Orchestra resembles neither Payvar’s nor Dehlavi’s orchestras. It actually is a combination of available Iranian bowed string instruments, plucked string instruments and other Iranian instruments which has a long way to go before it reaches a desired point. We were supposed to conduct a research in collaboration with Reza Ziaee, instrument maker and Shahin Mohajeri, acoustician on Simorgh Orchestra instruments so that I could attend this session with the graphs which were prepared as the result of this research. But unfortunately this session was held much earlier than we expected.

Therefore, I can only point to some of the technical problems of Iranian orchestra instruments.
Sadjad Pourghannad further mentioned some of the acoustic problems of the Simorgh Orchestra and suggested that with the collaboration of educated instrument makers and acousticians familiar with music an instrument-making workshop be established besides Simorgh Orchestra.
Regarding Homayoun Shajarian’s singing, Pourghanad added that our experience with him in Rumi Opera proved that despite the fact that Homayoun Shajarian draws on Iranian singing technique and style, he also has a strong voice. However, it is possible that if Simorgh is sung by another singer with the Iranian style, the singer’s voice would not go beyond the orchestra.
Seyed Abdolhossein Mokhtabad, the singer, was the third speaker to go on the stage. Regarding the album he commented that composing on several ten-line poems with identical meter is very difficult and requires the composer to organize the musical contrasts and similarities.

Mentioning Homayoun Shajarian’s role in this project, he added that Hamid Motebassem along with Homayoun Shajarian have created a work which is truly Iranian with an Iranian identity. They have succeeded in creating an Iranian dramatic work; however, it might have been better if there were two singers involved in the project as they could enhance the dramatic effects of this work.
Arvin Sedaghatkish, another critic, stated that: I will briefly talk about the technical issues and explain, firstly, why these problems occur and, secondly, the solution Motebassem could find and thirdly, the ones he has chosen. He added that Iranian music is mostly based on lyrical poems which are less narrative and in which every line is self-sufficient as far as the meaning is concerned. Even the composer can omit one or some of the lines without any damages to the meaning of the poem while in Shahnameh the poems are narrative so there is little possibility for ellipsis. Moreover, the meters are identical which makes the composer’s job more difficult.
The last critic to voice his views about this album was Kamyar Salavati: in criticizing Simorgh I kept in mind two important points: the poem and the orchestration both of which should simultaneously exist. Another valuable point in this regard is the effort made by the composer in creating a musical project on this level under the current circumstances. Salavati mentioned the fact that the whole work has been sung by one singer and added that this fact is reminiscent of Naqqāli (Iranian dramatic story-telling) which is an old tradition in the Iranian music.

At the end of the session, the singer, Homayoun Shajarian, was also invited on stage and mentioned in response to Sadjad Pourghanad that Iranian singers can sing with a higher volume of voice but this is not in harmony with the spirit of the Iranian music and singing; moreover, the techniques are totally different.
The session ended with Abolhassan Mokhtabad’s reading of Kiavash Sahebnasagh’s letter.

Post a Comment

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

Polyphony in Iranian Music (VI)

Torqeh or jal is the same bird (Bimaculated lark) and is the name of a muqam which is well-known in Torbate Jam and those areas. Jal muqam is called Torqeh in Esfarayen and Bojnourd. This muqam which was used to be played by Bakhshis/Bagşies (dutar-players) in the past is seldom performed today.

Prominent Iranian Musicologist Passes Away in Vienna

Khosrow Djafarzadeh, musicologist and architect, who was also one of the main authors of HarmonyTalk journal passed away on 15 July 2019.

From Past Days…

jash-saba-444

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.

sima-bina-444

Three singers in one larynx

Sima Bina (b. 1945) is a unique singer among the singers of Golha radio programmes which were broadcast on Iranian National Radio for 23 years from 1956 to 1979. She received her first lessons in music from her father who was a poet, a musician and the most important supporter of Sima’s cultural activities.

National-Instruments-Orchestra

A Promising Concert by National Instruments Orchestra

The National Instruments Orchestra of Iran performed its first concert amid much hope and anxiety on July 18, 2015. The Orchestra is founded by Roudaki Cultural and Arts Foundation which is a semi-private foundation in Iran. The Arts Director for the National Instruments Orchestra of Iran is cand the Orchestra Executive Director is Sadjad Pourghand.

haj-ghorban

Polyphony in Iranian Music (IV)

Two choirs alternatively perform Veŝ Tavaré Na avaz (Transcription 5). The second group starts the avaz before the first group finishes it; consequently, two different voices coincide (Transcription 5, staves 2 and 5).

tehran-flute-choir

Tehran Flute Choir Established

Tehran Flute Choir was established in 1394 (late 2015) by Firouzeh Navai. Tehran Flute Choir, Iran’s first largest flute choir, recruited its members mostly from young talented flutists of Iranian Flute Association. Featuring piccolo, flute, alto flute and bass flute, Tehran Flute Choir, directed by Firouzeh Navai, premiered under the batons of Saeed Taghadosi on January 7-8, 2016 at Roudaki Hall in Tehran.

nu2

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.

shahin-mohajeri

“The Art of Silence” Project Will be Released

Shaahin Mohajeri, the award-winning Iranian microtonal compose, has contributed to The Art of Silence is an international project which features unpublished pieces by microtonal composers from Iran, Japan, the United States, and other countries.

rooholah-khaleghi-rouhollah-rouholah-khaleghy1

From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (II)

Rouhollah Khaleghi was the master of composing beautiful melodies. He was the premier of the course of history which was first established by Ali Naghi Vaziri and which improved the Iranian music from simply a gathering music to the classical music of the country. First efforts to compose independent and instrumental music can be also traced in Khaleghi’s works.

mohsen-ghanebasiri

A year without Mohsen Ghanebasiri

The year 1396 (21 March 2017-20 March 2018) was the most sorrowful year for HarmonyTalk journal. One month after holding HarmonyTalk’s 13th establishment anniversary in Mohsen Ghanebasiri’s house in Tehran in April 2017, he untimely passed away. Mohsen Ghanebasiri was the prominent HarmonyTalk author.

shahin-mohajeri-mohajery

Shaahin Mohajeri Wins UnTwelve Composition Competition

UnTwelve Non-profit Organization announced the results of its 2014/2015 composition competition on January 28, 2015. Shaahin Mohajeri, an Iranian Tonbak player, microtonalist, acoustician and composer, was awarded the second prize for his piece “Castle of Babak.”