Approximate English Translation:
INTERVIEW WITH AMINOLLAH HOSSEIN (1973)
(Excerpt from Hossein’s Arya Symphony)
Narrator: (After a poetic introduction on the legacy of the Persian Empire)
…For sixty years, Aminollah Hossein lived far from Iran and the Farsi language, in Russia, Germany, and France, and yet he can still speak in his mother tongue. Let us listen to his voice, to the childhood memories and the Farsi-speaking of an Iranian who has not seen his country for so many years.
Hossein: My birthplace was in Turkistan, in Samarkand**. I learned Farsi as a child, and we spoke Farsi at home; so I have always spoken Farsi, although I have forgotten some of it…
(Excerpt from Persian Miniatures- L’Armée des Sables)
Narrator: Sixty-eight years ago [in 1905] Hossein was born in Samarkand.** He was the son of a man named Ahmad Hossein.
Later (in Russia) their family name Hossein became Hosseinov; and when the family later returned to Iran, the name was again changed, from Hosseinov to Amiri. (**because at the time of their move, Russian-sounding names were not favored upon by Reza Shah.)
Hossein: Then I went to Moscow for my high school studies. Upon the completion of my studies, in 1922, I left Moscow and came to Berlin. Although I studied the violin in Moscow, in Berlin, my musical studies came to a halt.
Narrator: Hossein went to Berlin to study medicine, but his heart was full of music. Nothing but music agreed with his spirit.
Hossein: They [Hossein’s family] wrote to me that I should study medicine, but medicine was not in my nature / I had no propensity toward this profession.
Narrator: Hossein first learned music from his mother. In his household, music and poetry were held in the highest regard.
His grandfather’s home was full of books about Persian poets and recordings of Persian music, such that the young Aminollah Hossein hummed the tar
melodies of Darvish Khan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darvish_Khan
(Excerpt from tar playing of Aminollah Hossein)
Hossein: When I was a child, I loved to whistle. We had a grammophone player, and we played mostly recordings of Iranian music. For example—
I can still remember—the tar-playing of Darvish Khan, and the singing of Haj Hossein Gholi Khan.
Narrator: Tradition was sacred to Hossein’s life and music. Hossein found his role in introducing Persian music to the outside world.
(Excerpt from Hossein’s “Caravan” )
Hossein: I used Saadi’s verse: “Oh, Caravan-driver, Go slowly. You are taking the calm of my soul (my beloved) away from me.” Our music cannot be constantly kept in a cage. We need to open the cage and throw our Persian music out into the world.”
Narrator: Hossein stayed for four years in Berlin, continuing his musical studies with Artur Schnabel and Wilhelm Klatte. In 1942, he married Anna Minevski (Minevskaya.)
Hossein was the first Iranian composer to graduate from the Paris Conservatory, where he studied composition with Noel Gallon and Paul Vidal, and piano with Alfred Cortot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern_Conservatory (Professor Wilhelm Klatte)
(Excerpt from Paysage d’été from the Mosaics Suite, op. 19)
Narrator: Hossein believes that the inspiration/intuition of the artist is separate from his technical ability at his instrument.
Hossein: What is music? Music has to touch our spirit. Music is elhaam (elhaam=inspiration/revelation/intuition/imagination.) If there is no inspiration (elhaam) involved, then you must agree that we are no longer dealing with music. Why? Because humans need music. It is something innate in us. Just as we need food, we also need spiritual food. Today, we are trapped by materialism. When you are caught up in the superficial, material world, you cannot create transcendent music.
Narrator: Hossein loves Iran, and despite being away from his country for years, he cannot forget the culture, history and music of his homeland.
Hossein: When I wanted to compose the Persepolis symphony, I had to be in the Iranian state of mind. In all of the works I have written, you can detect their Iranian roots.
(Excerpt from Persepolis Symphony)
Narrator: In 1941, Hossein started to compose his “Ruins of Persepolis” Symphony. Five years later, in 1946, he completed it and premiered it with the Orchestre Lamoureux. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchestre_Lamoureux and in 1951, it was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. This work is moving and sad, and is divided into four movements.
Hossein: If you listen to the first part, it shows the ruined columns and my grief/tears. Then, it’s as though I see the ruins come to life, and the dignitaries come to pay their respects to Darius the Great. Then, the third part….it’s very personal. The complaining and the sorrow transforms to hope, hope for the future, and then the symphony ends.
Narrator: Hossein’s deep feeling and love for Persian culture and traditions stemmed from his childhood.
Hossein: There was an Iranian gentleman, an expert in Persian poetry; I can’t recall his name now; I worked with him a lot. He would read me poems by Saadi, Hafez, Obeyd Zakani…I remember when he first recited Rumi’s verse “Listen to the reed (net) and the tale it tells, how it sings of separation: ‘Ever since they cut me from the reed bed, my plaintive notes have moved men and women to tears.’” —These words immediately grabbed me. I still remember these poems from memory.
(Excerpt from Prelude No. 1 “Homage to Omar Khayyam”)
Narrator: Hossein’s music is poetic and programmatic (descriptive), pure and folkloric. Although Hossein lived and worked amidst the bustling crowds and noise of Paris, he is in love with nature.
(Excerpt from Au Jardin d’Iran)
Hossein: “I need nature. I am a child of nature. Observe the flowers, hear the song of the nightingale…Our life becomes more and more artificial each day. We are becoming increasingly artificial, and nobody has time to look at nature. In today’s world, we are distancing ourselves from nature.”
Narrator: “Between the struggle for life, and the mystery of creation, there is a great distance. In order to sustain himself financially, Hossein poured his vast ability and expertise into commissions. Although he composed many excellent film scores, his classical/orchestral compositions hold a different meaning for him.
(Excerpt from Hossein’s Piano Concerto No. 1)
Beauty has a spiritual meaning for Hossein. For Hossein, true beauty is timeless and eternal. He equates beauty with nature, the gift from the heavens. He grieves that today’s society has lost its respect for nature.”
(Excerpt from Au Jardin d’Iran)
Hossein: When I am in the wilderness, I find everything to be beautiful. The sound of that water, the sound of those ducks, those birds—they are all beautiful for me, because they are part of nature. If I wanted to hear natural music, I would go into nature. The best music comes from nature. But these artificial sounds that we extract—I cannot say that these sounds are beautiful. When you hear these artificial, electronic sounds, how do they affect you? You enter a zone that has nothing to do with this beautiful life. The artificial music of today has completely wilted/weakened (pajmorde) people. It wilts people, and as a result, life itself wilts.
Narration: Hossein’s imagination takes flight in this sphere of the Eastern mythologies, especially Persian mythologies. In this journey, the 1001 nights—the collection of the Shahrzad’s stories of the East—looms large.
(Excerpt from Persian Miniautres- (L’Appel du Souvenir)
Narrator: Amongst Hossein’s most well-known compositions is his monumental orchestral work, the Persian Miniatures. Hossein depicts a great spirit, a spirit that reveals itself from the depth of Persian history, and is proudly passed on from one generation to the next. This music evokes the clearest/most celestial blue sky imaginable, and the hard and dry Iranian soil, a soil from which the most beautiful red flowers in the world flourish.
(Excerpt from Persian Miniatures- Invitation au Sortilege)
Narrator: In the ancient Persian mythology, a poet recites the history of his homeland, an epic interlaced with benevolence and regret; an epic that reaches, at the end, the realm of solitude and tranquility, the realm of the mysteries of life and death.
(Excerpt from Persian Legend)
Narrator: Hossein has created all his compositions with love, and he cannot prefer one creation over another.
Hossein: It’s as if you have been asked, “Who is your favorite child?” I love all of my compositions, just as a mother loves all of her children.
(Persian Legend Continued)
Narrator: Hossein would like to visit his homeland through his music, through his hands. He does not want to be a distant story for Iranians. Let us hear, in his own words, his feelings toward his country and his people.
Hossein: I love the people of Iran and I love Iran. Naturally, if you love Iran, then you love its people. And I truly regret that life unfolded for me in such a way that I lived far from Iran, and could not travel there.
- Aminollah Hossein