Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Six Songs from the Qajâr Period Photobucket

In classical Persian music the metric song is referred to as the tasnif. Historical sourcesclearly show that vocal metric compositions were of different forms and names at least up to the end of the Safavid period (1501-1722). Safavid vocal compositions included kâr, 'amal, sowt, qowl, ghazal etc., that were differentiated from one another based on their rhytmic and formal structures. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the distinctions between vocal compositions were no longer enforced to an extent that by the end of the nineteenth century, all metric songs, except for one improvised genre (kâr 'amal), were known as tasnifs.

The performance practice of court music in the nineteenth century was mostly of two types, the music which was performed in the biruni or the men's quarter and the music which was performed in the andaruni, or the women's quarter. Professional musicians were male. They were masters of the radif and performed largely in the formal and private gathering of the court or in the house of the aristocracy. On the other hand, female musicians (who were trained to sing and dance by the chief male masters) performed exclusively for the andaruni. While male musicians drew upon the repertoire of the radif and metric compositions in their performances, female repertoire included mostly tasnifs.

The middle of the nineteenth century witnessed the rise of prominent female court composers such as Sultan Khanom, a female musician who later married to a son of Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar (r. 1798-1834), and Tâj al-Saltane, a daughter of Nâser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848-1896), who composed some of the most exquisite vocal compositions of that period. Two of the tasnifs in this album were composed by the above mentioned female musicians.

This album tends to offer an elaborate formal suite, characteristic of the late Qajar court music. Each section is arranged in a compound form marked with frequent performances of non-metric gushes as well as vocal and instrumental metric compositions that is concluded with a closing instrumental piece (reng).

The tasnifs performed in this album are mostly attributed to the Qajar court. The two tasnifs of "Bota Bota" and "Az Delam Bikhabari" are reconstructed and performed in this album for the first time in recent years. The tasnifs of "Bota Bota" in the châhârgâh section and those of "Behesht-e 'Adn" and "Nadide Rokhat" were recorded originally by Reza-Qoli Noruzi, a professional tasnif singer of the late Qajar period. We performed these three tasnifs based on Reza-Qoli's recordings. The tasnif of "Az Delam Bikhabari" is performed based on the version of Hâj Âqâ Mohammad Irâni Mojarrad, which I learned that from Dr. Dariush Safvat. The tasnif of "Negârâ" is played here based on the version performed by 'Abdollah Davami and finally the tasnif of "Tâ be Zolf-e Khish" is taken from a private recording of Nurali Borumand (vocals) accompanied by Ali Asghar Bahari (kamânche).


Dastgâh-e Châhârgâh

1. Chahârmezrâb A metric instrumental piece composed by Abolhassan Saba (1903-1957) a distinguished master of Persian classical music, a setâr player and violinist.
2. Darâmad (a non-metric opening gushe)
3. Zâbol (gushe)
4. Tasnif "Negârâ" An anonymous nineteenth-century tasnif, performed here according to the version of Abdollâh Davami.
5. Zâbol (continued)
6. Hesâr (gushe)
7. Tasnif "Botâ Botâ" A tasnif composed by Sultân Khânom, a female musician in the court of Fath-'Ali Shâh Qajar who later came to be the daughter-in-law of this latter
8. Hozân (gushe)
9. Mokhâlef (gushe)
10. Mansuri (gushe)
11. Tasnif "Az Delam Bikhabari" An anonymous nineteenth-century tasnif, performed here according to the version of Hâj-Âqâ Mohammad Irâni Mojarrad, one of the major authorities of the radif.
12. Reng An instrumental piece composed by Rokn al-Din Mokhtari (1891-1971), one of the most competent composers of the late Qajar and Pahlavi period.

Âvâz-e Isfahân

13. Châhârmezrâb A metric instrumental piece composed by Abolhassan Saba.
14. Darâmad (a non-metric opening gushe)
15. Jâmedarân (gushe)
16. tasnif "Tâ be Zolf-e Khish" An anonymous nineteenth-century tasnif, performed here according to the version of Nourali Borumand.
17. Bayât-e Râje' (gushe)
18. Suz-o Godâz (gushe)
19. Tasnif "Nâdide Rokhat" A tasnif composed by Taj al-Saltane, the daughter of Nâser al-Din Shâh Qajar.
20. Owj (gushe)
21. Busalik (gushe)
22. Tasnif "Behest-e 'Adn" An anonymous nineteenth-century tasnif, performed according to the version of Reza-Qoli Noruzi, one of the most famous tasnif singers of the late Qajar period.
23. Reng A closing instrumental piece composed by Morteza Naydavud (1900-1990), a distinguished Jewish composer and tar player of the early Pahlavi period. ”


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