MEHDI KHAYAMI (b.1980): Kamanche Concerto for Kamanche and Ensemble, Primo Piano Trio, Sellat for Piano, Angha for Violin, Canto delle menti for Cello and Piano, Ghorbate Nashad for Soprano, Clarinet and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 01U065
Reference: STR 3107
Description: The young Iranian composer receives an admiring testimonial in the booklet from Alessandro Solbiati, with whom he studied. This makes sense, because in overall idiom Khayami writes much like a current Italian modernist like, say, Alessandro Solbiati. Solbiati points out one important distinction; Khayami eschews microtones, beloved in the West, as being too traditional to his ears in the inflections of Iranian modes. Only in the trio, the earliest work here, are these characteristic modal scales strongly felt, in the string parts. Throughout, though, it is timbre that evokes the composer's heritage and gives his music a distinctive sound and 'feel' - the solo violin in Angha, for instance, almost seems to be emulating the sound of the kamanche. The concerto makes telling use of the traditional Iranian instrument, a vertically held stringed instrument in roughly the violin's register, with a distinctive piercing, nasal sound. The work, which is not programmatic, nevertheless seems to have struggle and confrontation at its heart, following a dramatic arc that becomes increasingly animated, leading to some powerful, pounding climaxes and a final catastrophe. The most instantly accessible work here is Shallat, a high-energy toccata in the bass register of the piano, which gradually introduces melodic material on ten strategically 'prepared' notes in the midrange, which evoke the sound of the Persian santoor (a hammered dulcimer) - timbre again - which gradually takes over the work's textures and mood. Italian-English texts. Lorna Windsor (soprano), Saman Samimi (kamanche), Divertimento Ensemble; Sandro Gorli.