About this Recording
8.557224 - VALI: Flute Concerto / Deylaman / Folk Songs (Set No. 10)
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Reza Vali (b. 1952)
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra • Folk Songs (Set No. 10) • Deylámân

 

Reza Vali was born in Ghazvin, Persia (Iran), in 1952, and began his music studies at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. In 1972 he went to Austria and studied music education and composition at the Academy of Music in Vienna. After graduating, he moved to the United States and continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed his doctorate in music theory and composition in 1985. Vali’s compositions include pieces for large orchestra, string quartet, piano and voice, and chamber ensemble. He has been a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988, and has received numerous honours and commissions, including the honour prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. In December 1991 he was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the Outstanding Emerging Artist for which he received the Creative Achievement Award. Vali’s compositions have been performed in the United States, Europe, South America, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia and have been recorded on the New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, and ABC Classics labels.

My Concerto for Flute and Orchestra was commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and was first performed in Boston on 13th February 1998 by Alberto Almarza, solo flute, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose. The two movements of the work have as their main influences both Persian classical and folk-music. The first movement is scored for flute, strings, percussion, and harp. The flautist uses a technique involving simultaneous playing and singing which brings out the overtones and alters the timbre of the instrument. This technique is used to imitate the sound of the Persian bamboo flute, the ney. The very fast second movement uses rhythmic cycles which represent cycles called dowr in medieval Persian music. One such cycle contains seventeen beats that are subdivided 5+5+7. First introduced by the dárábukâ (Middle-Eastern drum), this cycle becomes an ostinato as the movement continues. The second movement is based more on Persian folk-music and has a great deal of dance character. In the final cadenza, the concerto comes full circle as the flautist returns to the technique of simultaneous singing and playing. The Concerto for Flute and Orchestra is dedicated to Alberto Almarza and Gil Rose.

In 1978, I started writing a series of compositions based on Persian folk-music. These works consist of sets of folk-songs (each set containing four to eight songs) written for voice and orchestra, voice and piano, or instrumental ensembles without voice. Folk Songs (Set No. 10), completed in September 1992, is the tenth set of this ongoing cycle. It was commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The piece consists of four songs, two of which (songs No. 2 and No. 4) are based on authentic Persian folk-melodies. Songs No. 1 and No. 3 are composed in the style of a folk-song (imaginary folk-song). The third song (Lament) is a funeral dirge composed in memory of Olivier Messiaen. Folk Songs (Set No. 10) is dedicated to my wife, Nan, with love and appreciation for her support of my music.

Deylámân (pronounced day-lah-Mohn) is the name of a region in northwestern Persia (Iran) as well as the name of a mode which originates from this region. The musical syntax of Deylámân is strongly influenced by the Persian modal system (Dástgâh). The composition begins with an allusion to the Persian mode of Homayoon followed by the mode of Dashti. Successive superimpositions of the tetrachords of these two modes result in a special type of Persian polyphony. In the second section, the music leaves Persian territory and moves into the world. Short quotations from the music of Europe (Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler, Wagner), Africa (African folk-song), and Latin America (Peruvian folk-song) are interwoven, all intersecting on the intervals of the perfect fifth and the perfect fourth which I believe are the intervals most fundamental to all humans. In the third section, the two Persian modes are heard in reverse order. This time the mode Dashti is followed by the mode Homayoon, and the piece mirrors the way it began. Two Persian instruments, the ney and the bárbát (oud), are added to the Western symphony orchestra in Deylámân. In this recording, the sound of the ney is produced by a Western flute employing the extended technique of simultaneous singing and playing (this technique is further developed in the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra). Deylámân was completed in 1995 and is dedicated to Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Reza Vali


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