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Classical Music Review

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Pictures of the Hidden
Chamber Works


Composer: Kamyar Mohajer
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 September 2018

Kamyar Mohajer’s new album, Pictures of the Hidden, sees the composer combining his roots in Persian modality with his love of Western classical music...

Pictures of the Hidden opens with 'Prelude', which employs violin, viola and cello to really draw the emotion out of the track.

The eponymous piece, a set of five songs for voice and piano, feature the works of the Persian poet Hafez. In the multi-tiered composition, Mohajer draws from childhood memories of his mother’s singing. Fused with Hafez’s poetry, which adores a superior spirit called 'Beloved', Pictures of the Hidden reaches towards a higher meaning. Each song, sung in Persian by soprano Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghma, brings a passion to the depth of Hafez’s poetry. With Karolina Rojahn on piano, the composer combines the story-like motifs and counterpoint of Bach-inspired piano composition with the virtuosity of Shehabi-Yaghma.

In 'Reng', Mohajer shares the conventions of his native music. The dance, for instance, is built on a syncopated 6/8 rhythm characteristic of Persian dances throughout history. The album concludes with a performance by the acclaimed Alexander String Quartet, who communicate the contrasting feelings of melancholic longing and swift energy - a task perfect for strings and their ability to produce sound across the dynamic spectrum.

The album contains 12 tracks (1 hr, 02 min, 14 sec) and is quite an engaging overview of Mohajer's work to date.

Track listing:

01 - Prelude (2013) (6:08)
02 - Reng (2008, rev. 2017) (3:16)

Five Songs, Based on the Poetry of Hafez (2014)
03 - Pictures of the Hidden (6:15)
04 - It's Sunrise (2:04)
05 - Light-Burdened One's on Shore (2:51)
06 - It's Sunrise, Concluded (3:43)
07 - Pictures of the Hidden, Concluded (6:52)

String Quartet (2012)
08 - Andante (4:28)
09 - Moderato (4:33)
10 - Adagio (6:11)
11 - Allegro Con Fuoco (6:15)

12 - Ballade in C (2013) (9:45)


Darren Rea

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