Interview with Farhad Poupel (I)

Born in Isfahan, Iran, and based in the UK, Farhad Poupel’s music has been performed and will be performed in numerous prestigious concert halls and festivals throughout the world including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan; La Roque-d’Anthéron Piano Festival, La Roque-d’Anthéron, France; Biarritz Festival, Biarritz, France; Stoller Hall, Manchester, UK; Janacek academy of music and performing art, Brno, Czech Republic; Karlskrona International Piano Festival, Karlskrona, Sweden; by distinguished artists such as Kotaro Fukuma, Peter Jablonski, Daniel Grimwood, Margaret Fingerhut, Catherine Carby, Kristýna Znamenáčková,Jeffrey Biegel, Jean-Francois Bouvery and orchestras such as Windsor Symphony Orchestra or broadcasted on the NPR Radio 4, Netherland. The following is an interview with him on the ocaasion of the premier of the Legend of Bijan and Manijeh.
HT: Did you compose the Legend of Bijan and Manijeh based on commission or out of your personal interest in Ferdowsi?
FP: The brief answer to your question is that it was an interest of mine that led to a commission.
But to elaborate on the answer, this question should be addressed from several angles. First of all, in my opinion, this popular belief in commissioned vs. non-commissioned duality is at least not valid in most cases outside of Iran. Unfortunately, due to the low-quality commissioned works that were produced in Iran only featuring a propagandistic aspect, the term “commissioned” has become disrespectful. In the UK, however, it is the exact opposite; a “commissioned” work is always respected (although to be fair, I saw this thinking here as well, albeit rarely and also by people who had no idea about how commissioning works and mostly judged based on folk and Hollywood legends). In my opinion, this is due to the difference in the commissioning process. For example, in the case of Bijan and Manijeh, the pianist of this work, Jeffrey Biegel, and I already knew the conductor and music director of the Windsor Orchestra, Robert Franz, so we proposed this idea to him and he agreed very quickly to be part of the commission and the world-premiere orchestra.
Or, for example, they may know about the interests of the composer or his ideas through the orchestra directors and know what he/she is interested in. In general, the composer has much more authority in his/her composition than what is expected in many cases, and therefore the thinking that there is a difference between commissioned and non-commissioned work is wrong. At least for me, there has been no difference.
Regarding Ferdowsi, in my opinion, Shahnameh is one of the greatest masterpieces of literature. It is very interesting that the comparison of Ferdowsi’s image in society and as portrayed by statues, etc., with the Shahnameh itself, reminds me of the same analogy about Bach’s image and his music. The image of an old, dry and uncreative person who only cares about preserving tradition and “rules”. While examining the works of the two, one will see how creative, dramatic and coherent they are. Ferdowsi reminds me a lot of Shakespeare who took stories and made them more attractive and with higher artistic value. In my opinion, Ferdowsi was the preserver of traditions; not in the sense of transferring them, but in the sense of Mahler’s famous quote “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”

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…

Lilly Afshar, Iranian Guitar Legend, passed away

The text you are reading is about Hamed Fathi, a guitarist and one of Lilly Afshar’s students, which was previously published on the Persian website HarmonyTalk.com:

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.

“I Will Never Perform Just for Women!”: Golnoush Khaleghi Passes Away in Exile

Golnoush Khaleghi, first Persian woman conductor and daughter of legendary composer Rouhollah Khaleghi, passed away on February 14. She was 80. Golnoush Khaleghi was the conductor of the NIRT (National Iranian Radio & Television) Choir in the 1970s. Shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ms. Khaleghi moved to the United States and founded the Rouhollah…
Read More »

Rare documents of Tehran Opera Company published in Europe

The year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Evlin Baghcheban’s death. She played a crucial role to promote opera and choral music in Persia (Iran). Born to an Assyrian-French family in Turkey, she studied singing and piano at the Ankara State Conservatory. In 1950 Evlin married the Persian composer and fellow student Samin Baghcheban and moved to Tehran.

Hossein Dehlavi: the Composer

With Dehlavi it is not all about fame but recognition. Hossein Dehlavi is not a popular musician (like pop singers) whom everybody might know when he is walking on streets of Tehran; however, he is recognized by both amateur and distinguished musicians of the country.

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.

Negation of Changes in Iranian Music: Embracing Tradition

The perspective that denies any alteration or innovation beneath the realm of Iranian music, and more broadly, the performance and even the structure of Iranian music instruments, stems from the discourse of “tradition-oriented”* and the “return to self” movement in Iranian music. Given that some educators still adhere to this discourse and emphasize the necessity of preserving tradition, a perception is formed among art students that Iranian music, including Radif, lacks dynamism and is confined within a rigid framework.

Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, performed at Suntory Hall

On June 19, 2021 , young Iranian composer and pianist, Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, was performed at the prestigious Suntory Hall by the great Japanese pianist, Kotaro Fukuma. The piece was commissioned by Kotaro Fukuma to have its world premiere in Suntory Hall during a concert by the same name.

Last Year under the Light of Music

Almost three months into the new Iranian year (starting March 21), it is still not too late to have a look at the last year and the challenges that the musicians faced. The following article was published on the first day of the New Year in the Persian edition of the HarmonyTalk journal.

Principles of Violin Playing (IX)

4.3.1. To practice playing of doubles of notes involving two different fingers, each note is played at separate bows with slow tempo, each note is played perfectly regarding its bass and tenor sounds and then the considered double is played at another bow while considering the resulted sound of the double.