AMIR MAHYAR TAFRESHIPOUR (b.1974): Persian Echoes for Harp and Orchestra (English Chamber Orchestra), Alas for Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and Piano, Lucid Dreams for Harp, Violin and Cello, Yearning in C for Ensemble (Crash Ensemble).

Catalogue Number: 01T060

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.579023

Format: CD

Price: $8.98

Description: The Iranian composer draws on his Persian heritage in all these pieces, using traditional modes and emulating the distinctive timbres and nature of Persian music, all within a thoroughly grounded western idiom. The attractive three-movement concerto was inspired by carvings depicting harps from the Sasanid era (224–651 AD). The harmonies, melodic contours and orchestration all lend the music a richly exotic flavour, and the improvisatory character of the harp's cadenzas and solo passages suggests the florid melodic lines and improvised nature of traditional Persian music. In this way, Tafreshipour is reminiscent of composers like Hovhaness or Khachaturian, who successfully integrated the flavour of their ethnicity into concert music. The lively finale in particular, with its characteristic dance rhythms and percussion, is most appealing. The quintet Alas is based on traditional Persian music, and evokes the vast desert landscape of central Irán. A melancholy melody from the region runs through the work, embellished by ornaments from the Eastern tradition or dense chordal textures from that of the west in a series of atmospheric episodes that suggest the silence and loneliness of the terrain. The rhapsodic Lucid Dreams includes passages of improvised embellishments of the harp part, adding to the work's sense of freedom and spontaneous gesture, while Yearning is centered around a pedal note C to which are added spare, dark fragments of musical landscape, here referring to Northern vistas remembered from the composer's early studies in Esbjerg, Denmark. Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp), Christopher O’Neal (oboe), Helen Pierce (clarinet), Richard Skinner (bassoon), Katie Pryce (horn), Adi Tal (cello), Mary Dullea (piano), Darragh Morgan (violin), Alexander Rahbari {conductor).

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