Reza Vali’s Longing presents the listener with a tantalizing puzzle to decode. As the title suggests, themes of love and desire are intricately threaded throughout a shifting kaleidoscope of forms and aesthetics, framed by the austerity of Vali’s ongoing investigation into the traditions of his Persian musical heritage. The assembled works on this recording create a poly-stylistic tapestry that is on the whole unabashedly honest and exhibits Vali’s commitment to expressing his native culture within a Western framework. Equally inspired by some of the great European masters whom he admires and the profound and ancient traditions and figures of his native Iran, Vali has been termed “the Iranian Bartók” due to his penchant for collecting folksongs and synthesizing as a result his own very distinct and personal musical style, built upon this foundation.
Longing: Chamber Music of Reza Vali
Composer Reza Vali will mark retirement with a pair of Persian music concerts at Carnegie Mellon
by JEREMY REYNOLDS
Nov 2, 2022
The rhythms of Persian traditional music defy Western music notation. They’re intricate and complex and give the music a fluid sense of motion.
Persian music is also mostly improvised, or made up on the spot, according to stylistic rules.
“In a way it comes closest to jazz,” said Reza Vali, an Iranian-American composer who writes traditional and cross-cultural music for chamber ensembles and orchestras like the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has also been recorded widely, most recently at the Smithsonian Museum, and has also published books on Persian traditional music.