"Endless Vision unites Armenian virtuoso Djivan Gasparyan on duduk (an eight-holed, double-reed flute made of apricot wood, derived from the regional shepherd's flute) and Iranian master Hossein Alizadeh on tar and shurangiz (new Iranian lute). Their live 2003 outdoor performance at Tehran's Niavaran Palace was accompanied by a trio of singers (in Armenian, Azeri and Persian), Armen Ghazaryan (duduk), Vazgen Markaryan (bass duduk), and the Hamavayan Ensemble (vocals, oud, shurangiz, percussion).
Born in the Soviet Republic of Armenia and trained at the Komitas Conservatory of Yerevan, Gasparyan is responsible for elevating the duduk to classical status in Armenian traditional music. His career began in 1948 with the Tatool Altounian National Song and Dance Ensemble and the Yerevan Philharmonic; some listeners may recognize his work from the soundtrack of Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ. Gasparyan has recorded with Peter Gabriel, the Kronos Quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and numerous others.
Alizadeh began his career in the late 1970s after studying Persian classical music at the University of Teheran's School of Music; he conducts the Iranian National Orchestra of Radio and Television, and enjoys an international reputation as a soloist and composer at home and abroad. This meld of Persian and Armenian songs unfolds slowly and dramatically; the musicians and singers give one another plenty of room to explore the delicate nuances of these complementary and evocative musical traditions, whose microtonal character is accented by the plaintive duduk and the extraordinary overtone singing of Hourshid Biabani, Afsaneh Rasaei and Ali Samadpour. Reflecting upon this remarkable performance ought to call into question the wisdom of perpetrating in Iran the militarist folly and human sacrifice that already haunt Armenian and Iraqi history. By contrast, as Gandhi observed when asked his opinion of Western civilization, "It would be an excellent idea." - Michael Stone
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