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Dutch, Iranian pianists refresh "Persian Hours" in Tehran

Source: Tehran Times

Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat and Iranian pianist Aida Sigharian performed French composer Charles Louis Eugene Koechlin's masterpiece "The Persian Hours" (Les heures persanes) at Tehran's Rudaki Hall on Thursday night. The audience was impressed by the duet, which was performed at the 28th Fajr International Music Festival, organizers announced on Friday.

Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat performing a duet at Tehran's Rudaki Hall

Koechlin wrote "The Persian Hours" as a piano suite that he completed in 1919. He orchestrated the music in just two weeks in 1921.

The entire suite was not performed during the composer's lifetime, and in fact was not performed for the first time until 1986.

Iranian pianist Aida Sigharian performing a duet at Tehran's Rudaki Hall

Charles Koechlin never traveled to Persia (modern Iran) but based his impressions from a book "Vers Ispahan", a diary by Pierre Loti written about his expedition in 1906.

Persian Hours | Composer: Charles Koechlin | Piano: Ralph van Raat
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 28 November 2012.
Camera & Edit: Pejman Akbarzadeh / Persian Dutch Network

Van Raat also performed works by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and Iranian composer Alireza Mashayekhi. He gave performances in Shiraz on Tuesday.

Van Raat, 35, studied music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and musicology at the University of Amsterdam under Ton Hartsuiker and Willem Brons.

He also studied with Claude Helffer in Paris, Ursula Oppens at Northwestern University, Liisa Pohjola in Finland, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the Musikhochschule in Cologne.

He has performed with many orchestras, including the London Sinfonietta, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Frankfurt, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, and the Dortmunder Philharmoniker.

Van Raat has recorded a number of CDs as an exclusive artist for the Naxos label. He had previously recorded CDs with the Etcetera, Attacca, and Erasmus labels.

He also works for Steinway & Sons, an American and German manufacturer of handmade pianos.

Read Fars News Agency's interview with Ralph van Raat

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