To celebrate the opening of the Library’s magnificent new exhibition, Love and Devotion: from Persia and beyond, I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of the material we hold in the Arts Collection relating to Persian music.
This is a terrific introduction to the classical music traditions of Persia, and the accompanying CD contains some very beautiful examples of performers and styles. Chapters on the history and systems of Persian music are followed by descriptions of the instruments used as well as the relationship between the music and other art forms such as painting and poetry.
The rhapsodic, transcendental nature of Persian singing is fully investigated in this study, which looks at the history of this beautiful art as well as the influence it continues to have on more contemporary forms of music in modern day Iran. One of the fascinating appendices translates some of the major traditional texts, such as this stanza by Heshmat Shirazi:
My moon, from those magic seductive eyes,
A thousand troubles incites on every side;
Before the faultless gaze of that beauty,
The eyes of the gazelle would be dazzled to shame.
These encyclopedic volumes are a marvellous resource both for the world-music afficionado as well as the novice just starting out on the grand tour.
A few recordings to set the scene:
If you’re interested in hearing some of this ravishing music live, click here for information regarding a series of concerts being held as part of the Love and Devotion calendar of events; not to be missed!
You can also listen to some lovely examples using the Naxos Music Library; just type the words Iran and music in the search box. Enjoy!