About this Recording
8.574065 - RAHBARI, A.: My Mother Persia, Vol. 2 - Symphonic Poems Nos. 4-8 (Motamedi, Antalya State Symphony, A. Rahbari)

Alexander Rahbari (b. 1948)
My Mother Persia – Symphonic Poems Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8


Alexander Rahbari was born in Tehran, Iran. He studied violin and composition with Rahmatollah Badiee and Hossein Dehlavi at the Persian National Music Conservatory. From the age of 17, he was a violinist at the Fine Arts Administration Orchestra under the baton of Hossein Dehlavi. Soon after receiving his violin diploma from the National Conservatory, he won a scholarship from the Iran Ministry of Culture and Art to study composition and conducting in Vienna with Gottfried von Einem, Hans Swarowsky and Karl Österreicher.

In 1973, after his studies, he became director of the Persian National Music Conservatory and Tehran Conservatory succeeding Mostafa Kamal Pourtorab and Hossein Dehlavi. He held these positions for four years before he emigrated back to Europe. Within the same year, he won First Prize of the International Competition for Young Conductors of Besançon, France, and in 1978 received a Silver Medal at the Geneva International Conducting Competition. In the same year he recorded three albums entitled Symphonische Dichtungen aus Persien (‘Symphonic Poems from Persia’) with the Nürnberger Symphoniker in Germany, including six works by some of the greatest 20th-century Iranian composers. In 1979 Rahbari was invited to conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker, and in 1980 he became Herbert von Karajan’s assistant. From 1988 to 1996 Rahbari was the principal conductor of the Flemish Radio Orchestra (now the Brussels Philharmonic), and subsequently became music director of the Zagreb Philharmonic.

Rahbari was only twelve when his talent for composition was discovered by Hossein Dehlavi. Besides playing classical violin and Iranian traditional music, Dehlavi, who was director of the Persian National Music Conservatory at the time, began teaching him harmony and counterpoint. In his youth, Rahbari was commissioned by the Iran Ministry of Culture to write a piece per month. As a student, he also wrote many pieces for the Eurasia Quartet, as well as vocal works and compositions featuring Persian mysticism. He became a pupil of Gottfried von Einem, and began writing the most lauded pieces of his career. His works include Persian Mysticism – A Symphonic Poem for Orchestra (1968), music used in United Nation advertising performed by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (1975), the soundtrack for a documentary by French director André Malraux (1977), Beirut Symphonic Poem (1985) originally written for nine flutes, Halfmoon (1984), a piece for orchestra and choir performed and commissioned by the National Youth Orchestra of South Africa, music written for the 154 sonnets of William Shakespeare (1990–2000) and Fuerza Flamenca (2000).

The eight symphonic poems of My Mother Persia are full of melodies, rhythms and improvisations in the styles of Persian traditional music. As a child growing up with this tradition, Rahbari had a chance to learn from the best and most influential Persian maestros.

The support of Hossein Dehlavi, and Gottfried von Einem (one of the most influential professors at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna) helped him to retain the style he had originally created. In 2015, after many years focussing on his conducting career, Rahbari decided to write and dedicate My Mother Persia to his Iranian colleagues and maestros such as Hossein Alizâdeh and Hossein Dehlavi.

Symphonic Poem No. 4 ‘The World Without Wars’
Dedicated to Hossein Dehlavi

All the elements of Iranian music have been used in this movement, such as different scales and modes used in traditional Iranian music as well as rhythms and authentic singing. The piece is based on a magnificent poem by Mohamad Farid Nasseri (b. 1982), and demonstrates how a simple popular rhythm can turn into a rhythm of war and hatred. The hymn of Ey Iran is used as motifs within the entire piece.

Symphonic Poem No. 5 ‘In Love With the World’
Dedicated to Rouhollah Khaleghi

This piece is based on a poem by the famous poet Sa’adi Shirazi from the 13th century. It is the first time that the unusual time signature of 13/8 has been written in an Iranian piece of music. At the beginning you can hear a common Iranian santoor sound which can be heard throughout as a counterpoint influenced by the hymn, Ey Iran.

Symphonic Poem No. 6 ‘The Hymn of My Mother Persia’
Dedicated to Mohammad Reza Shajarian

This piece, which is in fact based on a previous idea for a piece alongside a magnificent poem by Mohamad Farid Naseri, did not develop into a march as it could have, but instead was influenced by the motifs of an Iranian Maestro, Abolhasan Saba.

Symphonic Poem No. 7 ‘Antari’
Dedicated to street musicians

This short, virtuousic movement is a combination of different ‘street music’—music which, in Iran, is considered very basic. This piece is based on a 7/8 time signature with different melodies from all of the symphonic poems in the cycle used as counterpoints. It was written to be performed as an encore at the end of the My Mother Persia cycle and therefore parts of the themes from all the pieces are heard throughout.

Symphonic Poem No. 8 ‘Arabization’
Dedicated to Mostafa Kamal Pourtorab

This work begins with Ey Iran hymnal motifs, and the brass instruments playing a fast rhythm evoking Arab folk dances. The interesting fact is that every time an addition is made to the number of brass instruments, increasing their power, the effect of Arabic rhythms and melodies gradually increase as well, until it reaches a fanfare battle climax.

Barbad Bayat

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