Six Songs from the Qajâr Period (Persian classical music)

Posted By: shajarian
Six Songs from the Qajâr Period (Persian classical music)

Six Songs from the Qajâr Period
Amir Hosein Pourjavady, Saeed Kamjoo, Mehrdad Arabifard, Khosro Ansari
Mahoor Institute, Iran | 2005 | APE + mp3 320k + booklet 300 dpi | ~295 + 125 MB
Persian Classical Music

Tasnif: the Vocal Metric Composition of the Qajar Period

In classical Persian music the metric song is referred to as the tasnif. Historical sources clearly 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).

Biography of Musicians:

Amir Hosein Pourjavady studied setar playing and the radif (classical repertoire) of Persian music with Dr. Dariush Safvat for ten years. Later he improved his knowledge and technique of setar playing with Hossein Alizadeh and Dariush Talai. He received his BA in music from the University of Tehran (1995), his MA in Ethnomusicology from the CUNY Graduate School (1999) and his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA (2005). Pourjavady has published numerous articles on the history and theory of Persian music in the Safavid and Qajar periods. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Tehran.

Saeed Kamjoo started playing kamanche at the age of seventeen under the guidance and supervision of Ardeshir Kamkar, Ali Akber Shekarchi and finally Ostad Ali-Asghar Bahari. He received his BA in 1996 from the University of Tehran where he completed his studies with Dr. M. T. Massoudieh and Majid Kiani.
Saeed Kamjoo immigrated to Canada in 1997 and since then has performed in several concerts and music festivals. In the recent years he has composed and recorded his instrumental, vocal and percussion works with various ensembles in Iran, United States and Canada. Kamjoo has proved to have a different approach toward the tradition and modern performance practices of Persian music.

Mehrdad Arabifard began studying the tombak as a teenager with the two venerable masters, Morteza Ayan and Amir Nasser Eftetah. He began his ensemble work at the Center for Preservation of Music in Tehran, and was later invited to join the Mowlana Ensemble with whom he performed extensively in Iran and abroad.
In recent years, he has participated in more than 30 recordings as a performer, composer and arranger and also performed in more than 300 concerts all over Asia, Europe and North America. In 1996 the Borneo University of Art awarded him with a medal of honor. He also recorded sound tracks for Helen of Troy, Hidalgo and the Passion of Christ. In addition to tombak and daf, Arabifard is proficient on the kamanche and violin.

Khosro Ansari began formal training in the art of singing traditional Persian music under the supervision and guidance of Ali-Asghar Shahzaydi. In 1986 he immigrated to the US. Although away from his homeland, he continued to practice Persian music and since then has performed in numerous concerts in North America. He has made several recordings. His voice can be heard at big motion pictures such as "Spy Game" and "Man on Fire" as well as TV series of "Third Watch" and "Presidio Med". Being a resident of Los Angeles since 1991, he teaches Persian music and pursues his own studies in world music.

Six Songs from the Qajâr Period (Persian classical music)


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.

Six Songs from the Qajâr Period (Persian classical music)