Intizar: Songs of Longing is the 4th album from the Rembrandt Trio at NativeDSD Music. This time they push their musical boundaries with vocalist Mohammad Motamedi, violinist Myrthe Helder, cellist Maya Fridman and clarinetist Maarten Ornstein. Born out of a special friendship, it is improvisation that is the guiding principle.
Intizar: Songs of Longing is exclusively available in Stereo and 5 Channel Surround Sound DSD at NativeDSD.Com
Motamedi, a celebrated singer in Iran, is a masterful improviser and has a head full of Iranian poetry – he gets inspired by the mood of the music and then chooses a poem to improvise freely over the music. This album contains pieces that fit the more spiritual, traditional Persian repertoire, as well as a number of more worldly songs on which the Rembrandt Trio is expanded into a larger ensemble, with violin, cello and clarinet. Thus, the collaboration between the Rembrandt Trio and Motamedi becomes an adventurous journey through the colorful Persian musical landscape, where musicians from different continents find a shared language in music and improvisation.
Motamedi & Rembrandt Trio
The Rembrandt Trio, consisting of Rembrandt Frerichs (piano), Tony Overwater (double bass/violone) and Vinsent Planjer (drums and percussion), shares a deep curiosity and wanderlust, and has successfully collaborated several times with Iranian grandmasters like Hossein Alizadeh and Kayhan Kalhor. Because of their jazz background, the trio has extensive experience in improvisation, which is essential to their successful collaborations with Iranians; improvisation plays a crucial role in traditional Persian classical music.
Motamedi’s approach is fascinating; upon hearing the trio’s first bars, he delves into his memory to find poems that fit the mood. He knows countless poems from the Persian canon, which he recites and sings, while freely improvising on the trio’s music and being rhythmically guided by the metre. The text is fixed, but the melody and music intertwine, responding to each other and allowing for plenty of improvisation.
The collaboration between Motamedi and the Rembrandt Trio grew out of a special friendship that began with a spontaneous jam session at Tony Overwater’s kitchen table. For the trio, which rarely works with vocalists, Motamedi’s presence adds an extra layer of meaning. Now, in addition to notes, there are also words that carry meaning, even if it is a foreign language to them. The trio faces the challenge of feeling, interpreting and translating the content of Motamedi’s vocals into their own playing.
(Songs of) Longing
The album was recorded before the recent uprisings in Iran. However, in retrospect, almost all of the lyrics Motamedi uses are directly or indirectly about the suffering of his beloved homeland. The title, “Intizar,” represents the longing for freedom and a better time. It is a word used in Turkish, Farsi and Arabic and expresses hopeful anticipation. This album symbolizes the inner struggle in Iranian culture while offering hope for a new era, a return to a freer and more open society.
‘Intizar’ contains both worldly and spiritual music, reflecting the two facets of modern Iranian culture. Iranian worldly music often includes popular songs from the regional tradition, complemented by Western instruments and playing styles. This album contains two pieces from the worldly tradition and four pieces more in keeping with the classical Persian tradition, characterized by the use of poetry combined with instrumental and vocal improvisation. The Rembrandt Trio and Motamedi interpret these styles in their own unique way, combining instruments from Western and ancient music.
The album was recorded at the Orgelpark in Amsterdam, a former church converted into a concert hall for (church) organs. The venue’s diverse organs and exceptional acoustics, especially for chamber and organ music, made for the ideal place to record Motamedi’s vocals. The combination of organs with Motamedi’s improvisations is a rarity, making it a unique aspect of the album.
The musical system of Persian music differs from the Western European system in that it is modal in nature and uses microtonal ranges, while European music uses harmony and tempered tuning. The piano, designed as a tempered instrument, is not ideal for microtonal music. Nevertheless, an Iranian piano school has emerged that experiments with the piano because of its similarity to the santur, a hammered dulcimer. In this, Rembrandt Frerichs has developed his own language by using the old fortepiano (from the time of Mozart) as a starting point. This instrument is more closely related to the santur and, because of its construction and more subtle sound, allows itself to be better used for the modal Persian ranges.
Rembrandt Frerichs played several instruments on this album: the Walter fortepiano (from 1790), an Erard fortepiano (from 1889) and a number of organs from the Orgelpark. For the piece “in the Middle of the garden,” he tuned the Walter fortepiano to the dasthgah Nava, using microtones. Tony Overwater uses both the violone, forerunner of the double bass and related to the viola da gamba, and the double bass on the album.
Vinsent Planjer plays a self-assembled set of percussion instruments that he calls the Whisperkit. Maya Fridman (cello), Maarten Ornstein (clarinet) and Myrthe Helder were invited to enrich some of the compositions and arrangements on the album with their playing.
Mohammad Motamedi – Vocals
Rembrandt Frerichs – Piano, Fortepiano & Organ
Tony Overwater – Violone & Double Bass
Vinsent Planjer – Whisper Kit & Percussion
Myrthe Helder – Violin
Maya Fridman – Cello
Maarten Ornstein – Clarinet
This album has been reviewed in our blog by music reviewer Rush Paul. Go To Article
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 00:51:52
|Original Recording Format
|September 8, 2023
When the sounds of ancient Persia meet the instruments of Europe, delightful cross-cultural synergies arise. When musicians of the caliber of the Rembrandt Trio and Iranian born singer Mohammad Motamedi collaborate, the senses delight. Thus we have one of the more interesting, engaging and musically satisfying releases of this year: “Intizar – Songs of Longing.”
…This album is a very engaging mix of planned composition and improvisation at the highest level of music making. Ann said most succinctly, “This is extraordinarily well done. It is simply delightful to hear. And the singer, Mohammad Motamedi, is just very, very good.”
If you enjoy World music or have any interest in expanding your musical horizons, I highly recommend this album. I can’t imaging anyone being disappointed.
A Green Man
As soon as I started listening to “Intizar,” the first and title track on this beautiful album by the Rembrandt Trio and the Iranian classical singer Mohammad Motamedi, I thought I was hearing a santur, the Iranian hammer dulcimer. Then I thought, no, that sounds kind of like a piano … but it turns out it’s something even more complicated than that, in a way that’s illustrative of the ideas and performances recorded here.
The Netherlands-based Rembrandt Trio is led by jazz keyboard player Rembrandt Frerichs, with Tony Overwater (double bass and violone) and Vinsent Planjer (drums and percussion). They have collaborated before with Iranian musicians on instrumental projects. This time out they’re working with the highly respected singer Mohammad Motamedi, a gifted improviser and student of Persian poetry both secular and spiritual. The album is a blend of songs from the spiritual Persian tradition and more worldly songs, and some pieces improvised by the trio; over them all, Motamedi chooses a piece of poetry to improvize over the music, which includes influences from Persian and Western classical traditions as well as jazz. […]
The Rembrandt Trio, made up of Rembrandt Frerichs (piano, fortepiano and organ), Tony Overwater (violone, double bass) and Vinsent Planjer (percussion), is no stranger to cross-cultural adventures. Initially formed to fill an interstitial space between classical, jazz and Near and Middle Eastern music, his list of guests and collaborators includes some big names: Kayhan Kalhor (kamânche, setâr), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord), Hossein Alizadeh (târ, setâr and tambûr), Paolo Fresu (trumpet), Vincent Peirani (accordion). Intizar: Songs of Longing is released on the Just Listen Records label, a Channel Classics phalanx dedicated to music related to classical music: jazz, crossover, world and folk.
On Intizar: Songs of Longing, the ensemble welcomes Iranian singer Mohammad Motamedi. Traditional songs finely arranged for the occasion, original compositions on poems by Omar Khayyam and Hafez, Intizar: Songs of Longing is an evocative journey to the heart of the musical soul of one of the world’s richest cultures, that of Iran/Persia. With the addition here and there of violin, cello and clarinet, the whole takes on the appearance of ecumenical chamber music that is both timeless and resolutely contemporary. Beautiful, touching, inspiring.
Iranian singer Mohammad Motamedi sparks inspiration from the contrast between Persian poetry and contemporary jazz with the Dutch Rembrandt Trio (piano, bass, drums). As an additional player, sound engineer Jared Sacks elicited the naturally generated richness of detail and reverberation from a church converted into a studio, and with this the album ‘Intizar’ compels you to listen.
The artists offer the audience a mystical, transcendental experience with unusual sounds, music deeply rooted in tradition but lifted to another level by the openness and freedom of the improvisers. The whole thing is more than fascinating, even if one has to admit that the emotional charge might overwhelm those listeners who are less used to works that break with established patterns. Although the specificity of this music raises the question of whether this ecstasy is accessible to everyone, you will never know unless you try, which I strongly recommend.
The artists offer the audience a mystical, transcendental experience with unusual sounds, music deeply rooted in tradition, but taken to another level by the openness and freedom of the improvisers.
The whole thing is more than fascinating, even if one has to admit that the emotional charge could overwhelm those listeners who are less accustomed to works that break with established patterns.
Although the specificity of this music raises the question of whether this ecstasy is accessible to everyone, you will never know if you don’t try, which I strongly recommend.
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