Ali Rahbari’s collaboration with Naxos as a Composer

Concertino for Violin and Orchestra entitled Nohe Khan was composed by Ali (Alexander) Rahbari while he was studying music in Vienna in 1972. This piece was composed having in mind the Ashoura events and inspired by the music which is used during the Ashoura ceremonies. The piece was first performed and recorded by Bijan Khadem Missagh violin virtuoso was released on vinyl in Iran. In 2018, Ali Rahbari released a collection of his pieces entitled “My Mother Persia”. In these albums, he revised Nohe Khan and recorded it with the Prague Symphony Orchestra with his wife, Paula Rahbari, as the solo violinist. Other pieces of this work include pieces for a tenor singer and the symphony orchestra. This is the first time that Ali Rahbari releases an album with Naxos in his capacity as a composer. He had released many works as a conductor with this publishing company.

In the booklet which in included in the albums, Barbad Bayat introduces the poem symphonies as follows:

Symphonic Poem No. 1 ‘Nohe Khan’
Concerto for violin and orchestra
Dedicated to Hossein Alizadeh

Nohe Khan is the name for the singer, usually a tenor, who sings in various religious ceremonies. They mostly sing in a sad, melancholic and emotional style, with an authentic Persian rhythm which is repeated in the Mass. The Day of Ashoura is probably the busiest day for the Nohe Khan, as Ashoura is the day on which the grandchild of the Prophet Mohammad, Imam Hossein, was killed. On this day Muslims around the world organize a ceremony from morning until noon to mourn him. As a child, Rahbari was impressed by the ceremony, and recalls this historical event as a symphonic poem for violin and orchestra. Here the violin plays the role of the Nohe Khan in three movements, which mostly represents the traditional Persian way of singing and playing. This piece, composed in 2018 is a revision of Nohe Khan originally written in 1972.

Symphonic Poem No. 2 ‘Mother’s Tears’
Dedicated to Hamdam Rahbari

This short symphonic poem represents the evening of Ashoura when orphans gather to sing sad melodies. Rahbari lost two brothers and a younger sister during his childhood, and had witnessed his mother and relatives mourning in the Children’s Cemetery. The childhood of the composer is recalled again in one of the saddest Iranian melodies, the Orphan Melody, which starts with an expression of deep grief that lingers until to the end of the piece.

Symphonic Poem No. 3 ‘Children’s Prayer’
Dedicated to Rahmatollah Badiei

As a child in Iran, the composer was fond of group morning prayers when a prayer was read by one child and repeated by the others. As the melody continues it conveys the children’s feelings of being a little naughty and afraid of their teachers at the same time.

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Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri

The term “School of Vaziri” is often used in writings on Iranian music, but the exact meaning of the term is not clear; some of the authors have used the term to only refer to the group of Vaziri’s students, including a large group of his conservatory students and his Tar students such as Abolhassan Saba, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ahmad Foroutan Rad, Hossein Sanjari, Heshmat Sanjari and others. But can we consider all Vaziri’s students as followers of his school of thought? This is definitely a mistake, because we know that some of Vaziri’s students have chosen a completely different path than that of Vaziri.

From Past Days…

Behzad Abdi’s opera Rumi was physically released by Naxos

Composing a traditional Iranian opera using the Iranian modal system, dastgāh, has always been my dream. I first approached this by composing an opera called Ashura followed by the operas Rumi and Hafez. I believe that in order to attract an international audience for Iranian opera, it is essential to fuse dastgāh with Western classical forms.

Harmony in the Iranian Music (II)

One of his works was the translation of Harmony, which was carried out with the help of Mozayyan al-Dowleh, and included a pamphlet based on which he used to teach the subject to the students of the school of music; the pamphlet was never published. It was, in fact, a kind of simple harmony for the piano with no quadriads, it rather featured the engagement of both the right hand and the left hand which was being taught at the music school for the first time. Salar-Mo’azez also composed military marches and hymns for schools, which he harmonized to be performed and piano. Likewise, he used to compose for military orchestras.

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,…
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A note on “Illusion or Ingenuity” article

The author of the “Illusion or Ingenuity” article, who is apprehensive of the future of the Music in Iran, enumerates some symptoms of the music weakening in the country for example decreasing in the quality of the music as well as lack of the innovation in creating them, a gradual decline in the music public taste and the drop in the application of layered sound and polyphony in music. He explains that one reason for this gradual weakening might be our unawareness of the fact that we are not so intelligent nation. He believes that we, Iranians, have a comprehensive “Illusion of the high national intelligence “that make us ignorant of the unfavorable realities of our music and consequently no searching for the remedy is taking place. His point of view brings to the mind a patient who thinks he is healthy, therefore delays the treatment and finally is killed by the disease. The author also refers to the national difficulties which gradually will lower the national intelligence score such as the increased rate of the immigration and brain drain, low quality of the nutrition, incompetence of the education system and etc and predicts that the condition of the music of Iran might deteriorate in the future because of the mentioned illusion of its great status.

Principles of Violin Playing (III)

Violin players should always pay attention to the proper position of the left thumb and other points related to it and to its joining point to the palm.

Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (I)

At the end of the Qajar era and as Iran entered the power transition period, known as the constitutional era, the Iranian music went through a lot of changes. These changes gained momentum as the students and followers of Ali Naqi Vaziri’s entered the musical scene. These changes greatly influenced designs of instruments, playing methods, singing, composing, etc.

Violin’s inner mold, an essential factor in developing the idea of violin

A part of the secrets of the masterpieces from the golden era lies in the special design of the instruments, as a result of a profound insight to and awareness of the significance of the precise calculation of the various components of the object of arts being created, such as making a violin or a bow.

Qanun, a feminized instrument?

In the world music culture, there are instruments which were traditionally associated with a certain gender. It remains disputable to what extent these gender-based perceptions have been logical and scientific. For example, as playing wind instruments need more breath strength and the public opinion believe that men have stronger breath compared to women, these instruments are predominantly a male domain. Harp is also considered a female instrument as the public opinion believe that women have finer fingers and can therefore better perform nuances and delicate techniques on the instrument.

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.

Principles of Playing Violin (VI)

B. applying force: the force needed for putting finger on finger board is applied through finger tips and using the rest of hand set especially wrist is not allowed. To practice this, it is possible to hold violin without the bow and throw the fingers on the finger board from 1-2cm distance; apply force only through finger tips.