Layla Ramezan’s ambitious and prestigious project 100 Years of Iranian Piano Music enters its second round. Once again, the Iranian pianist pays tribute to a special repertoire that derives from the encounter and dialogue between East and West. The programmatic focus of this recording is the history of Sheherazade, which has been widely received in the Orient and Occident, presented as a form of musical reading with the eponymous piano cycle by Alireza Mashayekhi.
With 100 Years of Iranian Piano Music, Layla Ramezan not only brings to light the richness of Persian culture, but above all illustrates the strong connection between the Eastern and Western worlds, their mutual attraction and fascination, which has produced extraordinary music over a period of more than 100 years.
In January 2017, the first part of this four album CD project, Composers from the 1950’s, was released. The recording brings together various Iranian composers who received their training in the West and who, sometimes in radically different styles, are all carriers of a common musical tradition. The subject of the second part of the series is Alireza Mashayekhi’s piano cycle Sheherazade, Op. 115. Mashayekhi, born in 1940 in Tehran, is a pioneer of modern music in Iran. He was educated in his homeland, Vienna and Utrecht in traditional Persian as well as Western modern art music, among others by the Schönberg and Berg student Hanns Jelinek. His work combines many traditions and meets philosophical reflection. The Sheherazade cycle of 1992 is a masterpiece of Iranian piano music, inspired by the story of the Arabian Nights around King Schahriyar and the storyteller Schahrasad. Mashayekhi transfers the story to a psychological level and tells it from the perspective of the king. The music expresses the duality of the subject and his inner psychological struggle. Stylistically, Mashayekhi invents in Sheherazade a new system of harmonization of traditional Iranian music: on Persian melodies, which are largely monophonic in origin, he creates a complex polyphonic music with colours inspired by impressionistic and serial music as well as jazz.
Mashayekhi’s piano pieces are arranged around the reading of the story (an adaptation by the composer himself) and improvisations on Zarb and Santur. Therefor Layla Ramezan gets support from Djamchid and Keyvan Chemirani – both members of the brilliant family trio Chemirani of international renown in both the World music and Persian art music scene.
Like the project, Layla Ramezan’s life and musical activities are characterized by the intercultural connection between the Persian and Western worlds. She received her first piano lessons privately in Tehran before moving to France in 2000. She studied in Paris, Saint-Maur-des-Fossés and Lausanne. She is active worldwide as a concert pianist, plays in the contemporary music ensemble Matka and is engaged in numerous intercultural projects.
May 30, 2019