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The Music of Islam Sampler (13159). In seiner aufwendigen Forschungsarbeit folgt David Parsons den vielfältigen Spuren der heutigen islamischen Musik zurück bis zu den Wurzeln. Das Ergebnis ist eine Produktion, die international Aufsehen erregte und 1998 den Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik erhielt: Auf insgesamt 17 CDs spielen und singen Gnawas und Derwische, Muezzins und Volksmusiker. Von Indonesien und Pakistan bis Tunesien und Südspanien reicht das geografische Spektrum, über 12 Jahrhunderte das historische. Zu jeder CD gibt es ein sehr informatives, etwa 50-seitiges Begleitheft (in englisch). Man kann die CDs einzeln oder als Gesamtpaket in einer Holzbox erwerben. Hier die Zusammenfassung der ganzen Serie. Ausgezeichneter Einstieg.

the project

Ten years in the making, The Music of Islam series recorded in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran and Qatar represents the most comprehensive sound documentation available to Westerners today, of a world religion dating back to 1/622. Although governed by strict rules for fourteen centuries, contact with other cultures has radically affected Islamic music throughout history. As the world enters the XV/21st century the timing of this collection serves an even larger purpose, documenting the traditions that have survived and will continue to survive for centuries to come. Today, one fifth of the world's population, one billion people, are Muslims, occupying a large territory stretching from the Atlantic shore of north and west Africa, through west, central, and south Asia to island southeast Asia, and attracting an increasing following in India, western Europe, north America, east Asia, and southern Africa. This is a global presence which cannot be ignored.

The instrumental compositions in this recording belong to Persian art music as passed down to the present. The marked preference of the Persians for instrumental music contributed to the dedication of greater attention by the Arabs, orientated more towards vocal music, to the development of instruments and instrumental performance.

Gusheh-ha—designating small dimensioned tonal melodic tone groups—form the foundations of the great complex creations of the classical music of Iran. A gusheh (singular) is comprised of a dastgah—a kind of five–part suite. The connection with classical music is first established by the integration of all recordings in two very popular dastgah-ha (plural), Shur and Homayoun, also found in most regional music traditions.

The instrumental compositions combining the kemenche and santur offer an excellent rendering of the feeling for sound or of the sound ideal of classical Persian music culture. They are accompanied in the rhythmical formation by the zarb or duff.

the artists

Instilled with preconceptions of Islam and Islamic countries as negatively portrayed by the Western news media, David Parsons embarked on The Music of Islam series with many trepidations. One of the biggest was entering Iran and keeping his family safe, especially with the bad press Iran has been subjected to since the Islamic Revolution.

To his surprise, Parsons received generous hospitality and warmth from the Iranian people and the recording of this volume became one of his most satisfying and rewarding experiences out of the entire series. Consequently, Parsons left Iran in love with a country, a culture, and people, and with a yearning to return.

The Iranian musicians featured in this recording; Agha-ye Sadjadifard, Agha-ye Djamshidi and Agha-ye Sahihi, were very enthusiastic about representing Islam and Iran and were passionately devoted in presenting a balanced program offering a broad spectrum of Iranian classical music.

Traditional instruments featured include the santur (a trapezoidal zither), kemenche (Arabic kamanja, a bowed spike-lute), tombak (a large goblet drum) and duff (a large framedrum with cymbals).


4 BEDAH-E NAVZAI SANTUR (impromptu on the santur) 12'38"
5 RENG 3'03"
6 BEDAH-E AVAZ, TASNIF-E KURDI (Avaz improvisation) 19'16"
7 BEDAH-E NAVAZI TOMBAK (Improvisation on the tombak) 3'10"
8 TASNIF-E ESFAHAN (Song to the Esfahan-Tune) 5'07"
10 FARHANG-E A'VAM 2'34"
11 GAT-E KURDI 1'55"
  Total Time: 64'33"