About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program

Davoud Pirnia (1900 - 1971)

Translated by Mahboube Khalvati
Davoud Pirnia, writer and musicologist was the founder of “Golha” (Flowers of Persian Song and Music) programs on Tehran Radio (1956-1966). He received his early education from his father, Hassan Pirnia (Moshir al-Douleh), and several tutors of the time (Taraghi, interview, July 1989) and continued his studies at Saint Louis School in Tehran and then in Switzerland and graduated in law. While studying law, Pirnia got acquainted with European classical music. Upon returning to Iran, he was employed by the Ministry of Justice and founded the Lawyers’ Guild. Then he was transferred to the Ministry of Finance and established the Department of Statistics in this ministry. Later, he became the head of the state inspection office at the Prime Ministry; he was, then, promoted to the position of the Deputy Prime Minister (Navab Safa, interview, August 1999).

In the early 1950s, Pirnia retired from administrative work and devoted himself to studying Persian literature. Simultaneously, he found his way to the radio organization at the time of the development of technical equipment and planning in radio production (Mallah, interview, January 1989). He proposed a plan to produce a program based on mixing Iranian poetry and music, which was accepted. The first program, entitled “Golhay-e Javedan” (Immortal Flowers), was recorded in collaboration with Abolhasan Saba and Morteza Mahjoubi, which included pieces for a solo instrument, accompanied with vocals (without percussion) and various poems declaimed by one or two presenters. In some programs, the poet’s biography and an opinion about the style and context of his poetry were expressed, and in fact, music was a means for introducing Persian classical poetry and great poets of Iran. Pirnia used the best soloists, composers and singers of the time in producing these programs.
Golha program played an important role in the years which marked the decline of the Iranian music’s ingenuity; moreover, it featured a complete period of Iran’s vocal culture by recording hundreds of tapes of instrumental, orchestral and vocal (Avaz) compositions of great artists. Pirnia was present in all the stages of program production, from the selection of poems to the selection of composers, musicians, and singers and recording; he sought opinions from prominent artists, and each of his programs was prepared with great care, obsession, and painstaking efforts (Taraghi, ibid.). Gradually, the Golha program expanded and a large and regular orchestra was established with the budget Pirnia managed to receive from the Plan Organisation, and which often performed under the batons of Ruhollah Khaleghi and Javad Maroufi.
This orchestra continued to function until 1979. The various branches of the Golha program included: Barg-e Sabz (the Green leaf), a program performed with a solo instrument and solo vocalist on religious and mystical poems, with the intention of getting closer to Mola Ali [the first Shia Imam] (peace be upon him); Yek Shakheh Gol (A Flower Branch), a short program containing a short introduction of a poet and some verses of his poems; Golhay-e Sahraee (Desert Flowers), dedicated to the performance of Iranian folk songs, with a change of accent and style and the so-called “urban performance”; Golhay-e Tazeh (New flowers), which was established after 1970, after the death of Pirnia, and performed the works of the young generation of musicians such as Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Mohammad Reza Shajarian; nonetheless, the latest Golha programs never had the prosperity and brilliance of the works of Pirnia (Negahban, interview , February 1992).
Pirnia also founded the first special program for children on the radio with his son Bijan and gifted children who had learned music, and appointed Dr. Moin Afshar, a teacher at Qolhak Jam School, to lead it. Several artists of the next generation started their career after collaborating this program in the years 1952-1957 (Taraghi, ibid.)

Due to some disagreements with the administrative heads at the time, Pirnia left the radio and resigned from Golha program in 1966 retiring himself; he finally died of a heart attack in Tehran in November 1971.

References:
1- Bijan Taraghi, interview, July 1989;
2- Hossein Ali Mallah, interview, January 1989;
3- Toraj Negahban, interview, February 1992:
4- Ismail Navab Safa, interview, , August 1999.

Post a Comment

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

Jamshid Andalibi passed away!

Jamshid Andalibi, one of the most famous ney players in Iran, passed away on the fifteenth of Esfand, 1402, at the age of 66 due to a heart attack at his private residence. Andalibi was a member of a family that had a significant presence in the field of Iranian music in the sixties and…
Read More »

Homayoun Rahimian & Iran’s National Orchestra

The Roudaki Foundation presented the permanent conductor of the National Orchestra (Orchestr Melli), Homayoun Rahimian, in a ceremony, and finally, after four years, the national orchestra found a permanent conductor. Homayoun Rahimian is the fourth permanent conductor of this orchestra after Farhad Fakhreddini, Bardia Kiaras, and Fereidoun Shahbaziyan. He, who has previously had experience of conducting concerts besides being Meister’s concert of this orchestra, performed the concert “Autumns” on the 20th of Tir, performing works by Rouhollah Khaleqi, Javad Ma’roufi, and Hossein Dehlavi.

From Past Days…

From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (I)

Music as an art has its own special history; emergence of a singer, of an instrumentalist and then the emergence of the strong character of a composer covers three significant phases of the art of music. With the emergence of composer which was simultaneous with the emergence of the language of music, this art managed to offer a domain for criticism for its composer; a procedure which led to a magnificent variety and evolution in musical production. Even though the conflicts between singers and instrumentalists have not met their end in the Iranian society and while singers can achieve high, instrumentalists have yet to play behind curtains . In a special era, with the efforts of musicians such as Ali Naghi Vaziri (1887-1979) and Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965), glimmers of a composing era started to glow bearing fruit in Khaleghi’s achievement as Iran’s first professional composer. Khaleghi made his reputation as a composer while Vaziri deserved to pioneer this path. By then Vaziri was well-known as a Tar player.

A Persian Nocturne for Piano

A Night in a Persian Garden is the name of a Nocturne composed by the Persian (Iranian) contemporary composer Behzad Ranjbaran. This Nocturne, published recently by the Theodore Presser Company in the US, was performed for the first time in 2002 in New York City by the young Persian pianist Soheil Nasseri and has enjoyed many performances by other pianists.

A Note on the Occasion of Houshang Zarif’s Demise

No introduction is needed when talking about the position of the late Houshang Zarif (1938-2020) in the Iranian music. His character and personality are so well-known among musicians that his name per se is a symbol and role model for the Iranian youth. “Becoming Houshang Zarif” is the dream of many young people who enter the world of music in Iran and many of whom retire regretting the realisation of this dream.

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.

Is the Iranian National Anthem a Copy? (II)

In response, it should be said that it is better for the national anthem of a country to use the musical material exclusive to that country; however, some problems might come up in doing so the most important of which include: lack of familiarity of other countries’ music performer with the concerned country’s specific music intervals and special musical technique; and secondly, the strangeness of that music to the foreign listener.

Jamshid Andalibi passed away!

Jamshid Andalibi, one of the most famous ney players in Iran, passed away on the fifteenth of Esfand, 1402, at the age of 66 due to a heart attack at his private residence. Andalibi was a member of a family that had a significant presence in the field of Iranian music in the sixties and…
Read More »

Davoud Pirnia (1900 - 1971)

About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program

Davoud Pirnia, writer and musicologist was the founder of “Golha” (Flowers of Persian Song and Music) programs on Tehran Radio (1956-1966). He received his early education from his father, Hassan Pirnia (Moshir al-Douleh), and several tutors of the time (Taraghi, interview, July 1989) and continued his studies at Saint Louis School in Tehran and then in Switzerland and graduated in law. While studying law, Pirnia got acquainted with European classical music. Upon returning to Iran, he was employed by the Ministry of Justice and founded the Lawyers’ Guild. Then he was transferred to the Ministry of Finance and established the Department of Statistics in this ministry. Later, he became the head of the state inspection office at the Prime Ministry; he was, then, promoted to the position of the Deputy Prime Minister (Navab Safa, interview, August 1999)

Ennio Morricone’s music for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight

After watching Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, The Hateful Eight, everyone was excited by its novel music besides the beautiful scenes of blood and guts.
The Hateful Eight is the first collaboration between the world-famous film music composer, Ennio Morricone, and Quentin Tarantino as a famous director.

Is the Iranian National Anthem a Copy? (I)

The alleged similarity between the Iranian and South Korean National Anthems has been a matter of discussion among musicians in Iran for several years. Earlier in 2021, the issue was taken to the media again with not only claims that the anthem is very similar to another song but also the suggestion that its musical content should draw more on the Iranian national music. Some even went to the extent to suggest replacing it with the song “O, Iran” composed by the late Rouhollah Khaleghi. Before delving more into the main issue, it would not go amiss to consider some technical characteristics of the song “O, Iran” composed in 1944.

Persian Music: “Mahour the Great” in Austria

In 1990  an Austria-based Persian musician Khosro Soltani, in cooperation with Hossein Alizadeh, put out an album entitled, Ancient Call A New (Nobang-e Kohan). After many years, a few ancient Persian instruments such as Sorna, Karna, Naghareh,etc. have been used, instruments which have been left out of the circle of Persian classical musical instruments for centuries.