The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 7, 2001

Weeping and moaning

This is my two cents regarding the review of the recent concert of Mohammad Reza Shajarian by Yari Ostovany ["Shajarians carry the night"]. Yari praises Shajarian for his masterful adaptation of Mehdi Akhavan Saless's poem "Zemestan", claiming that "Shajarian's interpretation has connected with the essence of the poem."

For years, I have followed Shajarian as a faithful fan, while longing for innovations and more reliance on modern Persian poetry by him. When I heard that he has incorporated "Zemestan" in his concert, I could not wait to attend that concert. Alas, I was disappointed when I heard the performance.

Contrary to Yari Ostovany, I think this adaptation of Zemestan has completely missed the boat. When you listen to the delivery of Zemestan by Akhavan and compare that to Shajarian's portrayal, a huge disparity emerges.

"Zemestan" is the non-negotiable protest of a deliriously irate man against life, to an audience comprised of the man himself. A protest that is totally void of any weeping and moaning.

What Shajarian portrays, unfortunately, is the weeping and moaning of a defeated person in search of sympathy. The difference is analogous to that between Nietzsche in his mad days and an old downtrodden woman in her sad days.

Mansour Fahimi


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