Saturday, November 03, 2012

Tehran orchestra, classical music, under cultural and financial pressure in Iran


The Tehran orchestra may well be disbanding, or converting into a smaller group that plays only Persian music.  The pressures now are largely financial as well as cultural, according to an AP, run on p. E10 of the Washington Post on Nov. 3, 2012, by Brian Murphy and Nasser Marimi (from the AP’s Dubai bureau), link here.

The Orchestra has performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony before, a fact that inspires anger in religious fundamentalists. Leonard Bernstein performed the Choral Symphony on Christmas Day 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in Berlin itself, resulting in a DG CD live recording which I have.  (I also have Bruno Walter’s for Sony-Columbia).

It also attracted criticism for playing the Beethoven Seventh (with the provocative rhythms in the Allegretto second movement, and the almost disco-like perpetual motion of the Finale), as well as Tchaikovsky’s testament to forbidden love, the tone poem “Romeo and Juliet”.

The Iran national anthem, however, is a western-style triumphant march.  Compare it to the Soviet nation anthem in the movie “Reds”.

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