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Reza Shadjarian & Ensemble Aref

Reza Shadjarian & Ensemble Aref / Dastgah Chahargah

Dastgah Chahargah

Thousands of bootleg cassettes of the famed Beethovenhalle Concert in Bonn are still in circulation among aficionados.

At home, Mohammad Reza Shadjarian, the foremost classical singer of Iran, enjoys the stature of a national icon, even though he continued to perform long after the decision of the orthodox Mullahs to ban public performances.

The musical background for Shadjarian’s art is formed by impressive instrumental improvisations, to which Shadjarian sings the lyrics of the 14th century poets Sa’di and Hafez. When Goethe discovered these poems some two hundred years ago he was alleged to have said, "Admit it – the poets of the East are simply superior!"

Shadjarian’s voice is almost startling in its intimacy. It touches the listener’s heart with its incredible poignancy and expressiveness. Under the direction of the composer Parviz Meshkatian, the ensemble features eleven of the most accomplished musicians in Iran. The roots of Persian music trace back to antiquity. When Alexander the Great conquered the East, he was fascinated by the variety of instruments and melodies he discovered there.

The Iranian high plain and Mesopotamia have long been known as cradles of music where many prototypes of instruments known to us in the West found their origin. The lute, the cimbalon, the oboe, the fiddle and the harp, for example, all came to us from the Orient.

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