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
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.