Now we continue with our Iran series. There will be two more posts after this one. Then there will be three posts by the outstanding Kemencheh master Habil Aliyev from Azerbaijan. Then a Ney cassette from Turkey, a double LP of traditional music from Tajikistan and finally an LP with music from Afghanistan. After this we will return to Indian classical music, insha'Allah. So now back to Iran:
Around the same time the two outstanding LPs by Dariush Tala'i and Majid Kiani were released on Ocora, Harmonia Mundi also released LPs by these artists. First we post the one by Majid Kiani released in 1977. These four LPs are perhaps the most beautiful ones of authentic Iranian music ever published. They were for a long time my favourite LPs and are still. Just now while preparing these posts I have listened to each of them again at least 10 times and will certainly many more times.
Regarding the term Radif, on which all classical Iranian music is based, we have included into the download files a pdf file taken from the booklet, written by the Radif master Dariush Tala'i, to the 5 CDs by him: Radif - Volume I to V, released by Al Sur in 1994 in France (ALCD 116 to 120).
The Radif is a very refined and rich system of modes and melodies, very different from the Raga system and also the Near Eastern Maqam system. The Radif is normally never played in its entirety, except for educational reasons. The musician either chooses parts from a Dastgah of the Radif and performs them, eventually adding some improvisations and developments. Or the main body of the performance is improvisation and development based on a limited amount of selections from a Dastgah from the Radif. In order that these really turn out well with depth and meaning the musician needs a deep understanding of the Radif, which most of the contemporary and even a lot of the older musicians don't have. In effect the Radif is something, one has to dive deep into and the really good and authentic musicians never stop to do that.
Today the Radif is most times understood just as a body of modes and melodies, from which one can borrow pieces freely and then create ones own thing out of it. They don't realise that there are many meanings and secrets hidden in it and many levels of understanding, which only unfold slowly if one dives deep into it and searches to discover them. And this search never has an end. This is also true for the listener. Musicians like Majid Kiani and Dariush Tala'i are completely permeated by the Radif.
All this is described in a very detailed way by Jean During in his excellent book Musiques d'Iran - La tradition en question.