Hamavayan Ensemble, Hossein Alizadeh | Ode To Flowers (Sorood-e gol)

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Ensemble Hamavayan Hossein Alizadeh Madjid Khaladj

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Ode To Flowers (Sorood-e gol)

by Hamavayan Ensemble, Hossein Alizadeh

Alizadeh established the Hamavayan Ensemble in 1989 as a venue for advancing traditional Iranian choral singing. Composed of some of the best known performers of Iranian instruments and vocalists, this ensemble has produced many of Alizadeh's compositions
Genre: World: Middle East Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ecstatic Devotion
Hamavayan Ensemble
8:00 $0.99
2. Prelude in Rast
Hamavayan Ensemble
3:57 $0.99
3. Beacon of Devotion
Hamavayan Ensemble
9:43 $0.99
4. Instrumental in Esfahanak
Hamavayan Ensemble
3:27 $0.99
5. Exclamation of Grace
Hamavayan Ensemble
5:41 $0.99
6. Soaring Towards Dawn's Arena
Hamavayan Ensemble
8:11 $0.99
7. Fleeting Laments
Hamavayan Ensemble
2:04 $0.99
8. Frost Battered Bloom
Hamavayan Ensemble
5:30 $0.99
9. Scent of Showers / Ode to Flowers
Hamavayan Ensemble
8:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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Includes 20 Page booklet / Poems and Notes / English - Persian.

All tracks composed by Hossein Alizadeh


Music performed by

Hossein Alizadeh, shuranghiz
Afsaneh Rassai, vocals
Madjid Khaladj, tombak & daf
Ali Boustan, setar
Pouria Akhavas, vocals
Nima Alizadeh, robab
Saba Alizadeh, kamancheh

Social interaction and expression are fundamental to the human spirit - communion, collective forums, mass struggle, celebrations, and funerary rites are but some of the more vivid reflections of this facet of our existence. They come into focus as they express the power of the many, the exuberance of interdependence, and deep-rooted human need for sympathetic action.

In music, multi voiced and choral performance is the true instrument for giving shape to such social phenomena. In every culture, depending on its historic, climatic, and religious environments, music, and especially group singing have developed in varied and different forms. In Iran, we can discern two broad forms of choral singing.

First are the type of group and choral chants that have taken shape from within the ancient cultural traditions of this land. Prominent examples include Zoroastrian ritual chants, Islamic recitations of special versus, ballads and chants of mourning processions, ballads and songs of workers, celebratory and funerary chants, and group poem recitations.

Second, a large number of Iranian chants and ballads have developed with strong influence from the ecumenical quartet singing of the Church in the west.

Yet, communal chants and ballads in Iran have their own indigenous forms. They use special tempos and rhythms, which demand compositional approaches that are fundamentally different from western ones. In Persian music, the way tonal and temporal modulations interact, both horizontally and vertically, are based upon a set of regulating methods that form the core of its musical tradition. As in the west, where compositional methods developed form the essence of it melodic repertoire, so it did here, but from modal modulations.

In Iran, traditional singing has been a monophonic "voice" that is performed by a solo vocalist. Yet, since the Safavid period (17th through 19th centuries), a form of choral chanting has become popular that has its roots in religious and often mourning rites, either as a single voice, or group chanting in a single voice lead by a chanter.

The forms in the present work were inspired by a number of variations of the latter type of singing that have developed since the Safavid period, for ritualistic gymnasium dances, or the zurkhaneh, dervish and sufi group chanting of poems, khan'e-ghahi, and traditional monophonic chants, a'vaaz. These forms have been adapted here for duo-phonic singing by a female and a male performer. Of course, all this has been done with strict deference to the content, voice, and feeling of the selected poems, from across a nearly a thousand year time span.

The Hamavayan Ensemble was formed in 1991 as the primary research and performance source of Iranian choral music. Since then, it has been comprised of many different instrumentalists and vocalists, according to the needs of each musical piece and the related research.

The ensemble has expressed its artistic work in many venues and recordings. It has performed in every continent with multiple performances in Iran, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States.

Film scores produced by the ensemble include, Del-shode’gan, Gabbe’, Zesht-o Ziba, Ancient inheritance, and Newmang. Its commercial recordings include Avaye’ mehre (Songs of Compassion), Raz-e’ no (Virgin Revelations), Birds, and Ode to Flowers.

© Hossein Alizadeh / Bâ Music Records


Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh was born in Tehran in 1950. He is considered as one of the most important figures in contemporary Persian music, exemplifying excellence in traditional Persian music today. He studied the classical Persian composition system, the Radif, under various masters, including Houshang Zarif, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, NurAli Borumand, Mahmood Karimi, Abdollah Davami, Yousef Foroutan, and Saied Hormozi. He later recorded the entire body of the Radif based on the interpretations of Mirza Abdullah for Tar and Setar.

Alizadeh received a BA in Music Composition and Performance from the University of Tehran, and then studied Composition and Musicology at Berlin University. He has taught at University of Tehran and Tehran Music Conservatory.

He has performed, as a solo artist, in Iran, North America, Europe and Asia. He was the conductor and soloist in The Iranian National Orchestra of Radio and Television. He established the acclaimed Aref Ensemble and has often worked with the Shayda Ensemble. His first professional experience in Europe was performing with the famous Bejart Ballet Company’s orchestra for Maurice Bejart's ballet, Gulistan.

Some of Alizadeh's most noted works are The Nava Improvisations (1976), Riders of the Plains of Hope (1977), Hesar (1977), Revolt (1983), Ney Nava (1983), Dream (1986), Torkaman (1986), Raz-O-Niaz (1986), Delshodegan (1987), Song of Compassion (1991), New Secret (1996), A Time for Drunken Horses (2000), Turtles can Fly (2004), Endless Vision (2004), Nive Mang (2006), Under the Razor (2007) and Ode to Flowers (2007). Endless Vision has been nominated for the Best World Music Album of the Year 2006 in the 49th Edition of the Grammy Awards.

Alizadeh established the Hamavayan Ensemble in 1989 as a venue for advancing traditional Iranian choral singing. Composed of some of the best known performers of Iranian instruments and vocalists, this ensemble has produced many of Alizadeh's compositions including New Secret, Gabbeh, Songs of Compassion, Endless Vision and Ode to Flowers.

Afsaneh Rassai

Afsaneh Rassai began her musical training in Tehran at a very young age with her father, Mohammad Rasaee who was the son of the famous Seyd Zia-edin Rasaee. She trained in the vocal Radif with Mahmoud Karimi and continued her advanced studies with Mohammad Reza Shajarian. In 1989, she joined the Hamavayan Ensemble and continued her musical training and professional activities under the guidance of Hossein Alizadeh.

She has performed extensively in Iran, Europe, North America and Japan with Hossein Alizadeh, Hossein Omoumi, Madjid Khaldaj and the Hamavayan Ensemble. She has performed on numerous recordings including Song of Compassion, New Secret, Endless Vision and Saaze No. Her film music credits include Delshodegan, Gabeh and Az Asar.

Rasaee has been teaching the vocal Radif for several years and has a large number of talented students in her school.

Madjid Khaladj

Madjid Khaladj was born in Ghazvin, Iran in1962. He began studying the tombak at the age of seven. As a traditional musician and skilled pedagogue in several instruments, he is unanimously recognized as one of the best representatives of Iranian percussions. Highly active internationally, he has performed in festivals, concerts, and conferences around the world. He has produced recordings, and art movie soundtracks (with Ry cooder and Lisa Gerrard), and has appeared in radio and television broadcasts in Europe. His music has taken him to the four corners of the world: Europe, the US, and Japan, where he has played with such celebrated percussionistes as Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, and Doudou N'diaye Rose.

In 1984, under the direction of Yehudi Menuhin, the Center for Middle Eastern Music Studies at the Institute of Musicology of Paris, Sorbonne, invited Madjid Khaladj to teach Iranian percussions. Using this opportunity, he has introduced many western musicians to Iranian music. In 1996, he founded the Ecole de Tombak in Paris (Center for Iranian Percussion Study). Since 1998, he has also been teaching at the “Cité de la Musique” in Paris, France and at the State Academy of Music in Basel, Switzerland (Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel in Switzerland).

Madjid Khaladj constantly investigates the vast possibilities in improvising within the Persian musical system, and beyond. The unequalled beauty of his style, his mastery of rhythms and the brilliance of his spontaneous creations not only place him in the top ranks next to great classical Persian masters, but also distinguish him as a major figure in world percussion.

Some of Khaladj's most noted works are: Anthology of Iranian Rhythms, Vol. I (1997) & Vol. II (1999), Iranian Percussions (2000), DVD of Tombak (2005), Nafas/ Iranian Art Percussion (2006) and the numerous recordings with masters such as Hossein Alizadeh, Hossein Omoumi, Dariush Talai, M.R. Lotfi and M.R. Shajarian.

Zarb, Tar, Setar, Tombak, Tonbak



to write a review

Nassim Sabba (New Haven, CT)

An opera spanning over 900 years of Persian poetry
There is no question that Mr. Alizadeh is a superb modern composer who can create music on par with the best that the classical world has to offer anywhere in the world. In MHO he surpasses most western composers by staying true to the Iranian system of dastgahs (modes). I can give examples and many comparisons, but wish to keep this note about this CD.

What is unique about this CD is that the poems he has selected, spanning in history from Mowlana (Rumi) to Moshiri, complement each other and flow like a single opera (I wish I didn't have to use this word, but it is an opera).

If you didn't know that there are five different poets of different periods in this work, you would think that there was one poet. Not just a single poet, but one who probably collaborated very closely with the composer, like most opera composers. Not so. The music is set to fixed verses of historic significance. Not a word can be changed to suit the composer. Mr. Alizadeh's composition brings a flowing life to the poems. While there is a fundamental upbeat mood of optimism, the music goes up and down and adjusts beautifully to each verse of each poem, each with its mix of laments and pleasures of change.

It is hard to pick a single cut as the best, and you need to hear the whole CD as a single composition. I am happy that CD baby lets you listen to a bit of every cut.

The group is truly great, especially given the youthful age of four of the seven. They really shine, together and in their solo peices. The percussion is even better on the CD than it was in the live concert. Maybe there was a problem with acoustics in the hall or the sound system (NYC).

Mrs. Rasaie and Mr. Akhavas have such compatible voices that it is hard not to want to play each section repeatedly to get immersed in the pleasure of their duets, a rare thing in persian music.

All of this thanks to Mr. Alizadeh, a truly dedicated educator in addition to his non-stop work in composing and performing. He has kept the beacon of devotion alive, given all the difficulties one can imagine he has had to face. He has produced many stars in his workshops, you will hear four of them on this CD.

You shouldn't miss this one, if you have to get jsut one CD this month, Ode to Flower should be it.


Beautiful, enjoyed it a lot!
This work is diffrent from what I have heard from Alizadeh before. very interesting and close to my heart, loved it!

nancy evans

amazing graphics
more graphics....simply awesome

Tamara Turner, CD Baby

It must first be said, for those not familiar with the ensemble or the man behind it, that Hossein Alizadeh is among the “Who’s Who” of contemporary Persian musicians and is considered one of the most important figures in the approach to Persian music today. Having studied the classical composition system, the Radif, with various masters, Alizadeh formed the Hamavayan Ensemble in 1991 as the foremost research and performance source of Iranian choral music. Featuring many other superb musicians in their own right, Ode to Flowers takes us on an multi-textured journey driven equally by Afsaneh Rassai and Pouria Akhavas on vocals, Madjid Khaladj on tombak and daf, Ali Boustan on setar, Nima Alizadeh on robab and Saba Alizadeh, on kamancheh. While music of this region may sometimes be an acquired taste for Westerners with ears unaccustomed to the stylistic musical tension and dissonance, Ode to Flowers is remarkably and exceptionally accessible and evocative for all. The 9 songs here are based on a form of choral chanting from the Safavid period (17th through 19th centuries), rooted in religious and mourning rituals and involving a group chant led by a lead chanter. While the songs on this CD were inspired by this type of chanting for ritualistic gymnasium dances, or the zurkhaneh, dervish and Sufi group chanting of poems as well as traditional monophonic chants, all integrity of the tradition has been held intact. The combination of traditional purity and customs met with modern inventiveness and inspiration on Alizadeh’s part make this the number one Persian album we will recommend from this day forward.