20 October 2010

The A to Z of Alizâdeh, today, on Alizâdeh Day, eh? Join me for three hours of Persian lute music, on three kinds of lute.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Improvisations in Avâz-e Esfahân (rec. 2000)
Hossein Alizâdeh - tar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Iran: Les maîtres de l'improvisation
Buda Records, 1986082
(Tar = a six-string long-necked lute played with a plectrum, the "favourite instrument of last century's great masters," sports a body that (probably not coincidentally) looks like two hearts joined at the tip. Esfahân mode "evoke[s] love and separation.")

Set #2 - 9:00am - 10:00am

Improvisation in Dastgâh-e Navâ (rec. 1993)
Hossein Alizâdeh - setar, Madjid Khaladj - tombak
Alizâdeh Live at the Los Angeles Festival
Kereshmeh Records, KCD-105
(Setar = a four-string lute with a "delicacy and intimate sonority, ...the preferred instrument of Sufi mystics." Navâ mode is "rather serene and meditative.")

Set #3 - 10:00am - 11:00am

3. Une épopée spirituelle (rec. intermittently 1960-71)
Ostad Elahi - tanbur & voice
Une épopée spirituelle: L'art du luth oriental tanbur
Le chant du monde, 7741432

(Tanbur = three-string lute, "the ancestor of most [Iranian] plucked, string instruments," "a sacred instrument associated with the Kurdish Sufi music of Western Iran." A suite in four movements, assembled from a decade's worth of private recordings, traverses "the fundamental states of the soul: loss, nostalgia, separation, as well as union and return" via archaic and religious melodies, finishing with a dance tune. "The domains of the secular and sacred are not as clear-cut in eastern culture as they are in the occidental world." I will deliver my lecture on paying attention soon. In the meantime, see this story from the BBC here.)

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