FORT WORTH - Hailed as "a master of the orchestra" (Dallas Morning News), composer Behzad Ranjbaran is known for his rich orchestration balanced by delicate beauty. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will perform selections of the composer's The Blood of Seyavash, a melodic tale of a young Persian's prince seduction and betrayal, Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 at Bass Performance Hall. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's composer-in-residence, Ranjbaran will be in attendance this weekend - meet the composer during Symphonic Insights one hour before each concert in the audience chamber.
The performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Kodaly's Dances of Galanta and Stravinsky's beloved ballet Pétrouchka, featuring Basil Twist's puppets, are also included in the program. All Friday performances include free, pre-concert entertainment in the lobby. These performances have no intermission and the concerts end at approximately 9 p.m. so patrons are free to enjoy the rest of the evening on the town.
Ranjbaran drew his inspiration for his Persian Trilogy-Seven Passages, Seemorgh, and The Blood of Seyavash-from Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), the national epic of Persia/Iran. This poem of over 60,000 verses contains the mythological stories of the history of the country from its creation to its conquest by Arabs, all written down by the poet Ferdowsi in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries CE. He composed The Blood of Seyavash in 1993-94 for the Nashville Ballet with support from Meet the Composer. (In order of composition it was the second work of his Persian Trilogy.) The Nashville Ballet together with the Nashville Symphony gave the premiere on September 30, 1994. In an ASCAP interview the composer said, "I had two distinct ideas for this ballet: one, I wanted to write for the dance, but also at the same time I wanted to write symphonic music that could stand on its own on the concert stage." And stand alone it does, with all the drama that his colorful orchestral palette can produce, from the most delicate washes of sound and humorous scamperings to ravishing melodies and crashing climaxes.
The ballet is inspired by the dramatic story of Seyavash, told musically using three main "character themes" that he varies throughout "to convey a wide range of complex emotions and events." The Destiny theme, which foretells Seyavash's tragic fate, returns both at climaxes and at "fragile moments"; the Humanity theme represents his high morals, his love of life and the inner conflicts these create; and the Conspiracy theme symbolizes the "jealousy and ill will towards Seyavash's uncompromising ethical integrity."
Ranjbaran's music has been performed in recent seasons by Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. Songs of Eternity was written for Ms. Fleming, who gave the premiere with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra followed by a Gala concert performance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Mr. Bell premiered the Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra followed by performances with the Indianapolis and Toronto symphony orchestras. International Sejong Soloists commissioned Awakening for premiere at the Great Mountains Music Festival as a celebration of peace; it will be performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in April 2009, along with Songs of Eternity. In June 2008, Jean-Yves Thibaudet gave the premiere of a new piano concerto commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Born in 1955 in Tehran, Iran, Mr. Ranjbaran received the Rudolf Nissim Award for his Violin Concerto. His honors include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer, and a Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. For more information, visit www.behzadranjbaran.com.
Tickets are $10-$78 and are available online at www.fwsymphony.org and by telephone at 817-665-6000. Discounted rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Call 817-665-6500, ext. 150 for details.
These concerts are made possible, in part, by the generous support of season sponsors American Airlines, Park Place Motorcars Fort Worth, Renaissance Worthington Hotel and Star-Telegram. They are presented in honor of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation. Promotional support is provided by Star-Telegram and WRR Classical 101.1FM.
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