In Friday’s (10/23) Philadelphia Daily News, Tom Di Nardo writes, “Composer Behjad Ranjbaran’s ravishing Violin Concerto, requiring enormous interpretive and virtuoso skills, is the centerpiece of Tuesday’s program by the always exhilarating Curtis Symphony Orchestra. It’s also the first local performance of Ranjbaran’s powerful symphonic music, which reflects his Iranian background. ‘I wanted to contrast the modern violin to the ancient upright Iranian instrument, the kamancheh,’ Ranjbaran said of the concerto. ‘The instrument was mostly abandoned when the modern violin came in the 19th century, but it’s now being played again. The lyrical and soft passages are reminiscent of this old upright fiddle, with the strong, virtuosic passages reflective of the modern violin.’ As a young music student in Iran, Ranjbaran learned the classics but his country’s folk music was banned, he recalled. … One of the busiest composers around, Ranjbaran wrote ‘Songs of Eternity’ for Renee Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma played his commissioned Elegy in Buffalo, N.Y. The Philadelphia Orchestra played his sizzling Violin Concerto in 2005 at the Saratoga Music Festival in New York. His tone poem ‘Saratoga’ was performed there this past summer.”

Posted October 23, 2009