Reza Vali (b. 1952)
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra Folk Songs (Set No. 10) Deylam?ón
Reza Vali was born in Ghazvin, Persia (Iran), in 1952, andbegan his music studies at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. In 1972 he went toAustria and studied music education and composition at the Academy of Music inVienna. After graduating, he moved to the United States and continued hisstudies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed his doctorate inmusic theory and composition in 1985. Vali's compositions include pieces forlarge orchestra, string quartet, piano and voice, and chamber ensemble. He hasbeen a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon Universitysince 1988, and has received numerous honours and commissions, including thehonour prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W.Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, thePittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, theArizona Friends of Chamber Music, and the Northeastern PennsylvaniaPhilharmonic, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts andthe Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. In December 1991 he was selected bythe Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the Outstanding Emerging Artist for which hereceived the Creative Achievement Award. Vali's compositions have beenperformed in the United States, Europe, South America, Mexico, Hong Kong, andAustralia and have been recorded on the New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, and ABCClassics labels.
My Concerto for Flute and Orchestra was commissioned by theBoston Modern Orchestra Project and was first performed in Boston on 13thFebruary 1998 by Alberto Almarza, solo flute, and the Boston Modern OrchestraProject conducted by Gil Rose. The two movements of the work have as their maininfluences both Persian classical and folk-music. The first movement is scoredfor flute, strings, percussion, and harp. The flautist uses a techniqueinvolving simultaneous playing and singing which brings out the overtones andalters the timbre of the instrument. This technique is used to imitate thesound of the Persian bamboo flute, the ney. The very fast second movement usesrhythmic cycles which represent cycles called dowr in medieval Persian music.One such cycle contains seventeen beats that are subdivided 5+5+7. Firstintroduced by the darabuk?ó (Middle-Eastern drum), this cycle becomes anostinato as the movement continues. The second movement is based more onPersian folk-music and has a great deal of dance character. In the finalcadenza, the concerto comes full circle as the flautist returns to thetechnique of simultaneous singing and playing. The Concerto for Flute andOrchestra is dedicated to Alberto Almarza and Gil Rose.
In 1978, I started writing a series of compositions based onPersian folk-music. These works consist of sets of folk-songs (each setcontaining four to eight songs) written for voice and orchestra, voice andpiano, or instrumental ensembles without voice. Folk Songs (Set No. 10),completed in September 1992, is the tenth set of this ongoing cycle. It wascommissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and supported by a grant fromthe Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The piece consists of four songs, two ofwhich (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 (imaginaryfolk-song). The third song (Lament) is a funeral dirge composed in memory ofOlivier Messiaen. Folk Songs (Set No. 10) is dedicated to my wife, Nan, withlove and appreciation for her support of my music.
Deylam?ón (pronounced day-lah-Mohn) is the name of a regionin northwestern Persia (Iran) as well as the name of a mode which originatesfrom this region. The musical syntax of Deylam?ón is strongly influenced by thePersian modal system (Dastg?óh). The composition begins with an allusion to thePersian mode of Homayoon followed by the mode of Dashti. Successivesuperimpositions of the tetrachords of these two modes result in a special typeof Persian polyphony. In the second section, the music leaves Persian territoryand 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 theperfect fifth and the perfect fourth which I believe are the intervals mostfundamental to all humans. In the third section, the two Persian modes areheard in reverse order. This time the mode Dashti is followed by the modeHomayoon, and the piece mirrors the way it began. Two Persian instruments, theney and the barbat (oud), are added to the Western symphony orchestra inDeylam?ón. In this recording, the sound of the ney is produced by a Westernflute employing the extended technique of simultaneous singing and playing(this technique is further developed in the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra).Deylam?ón was completed in 1995 and is dedicated to Gil Rose and the BostonModern Orchestra Project.