A reeel gem of found art on this rare, lost recording by Morteza Hannaneh, co-founder of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra. Made sometime in the 1960’s for Tehran Radio, the recording had long been thought lost until it was recently found on tape by Hannaneh’s grandson who has now pressed it to vinyl. A proper find this, aided by some handsome artwork by Thomas Jeppe, a noted artist familiar with Persian culture.
Without definitive records to go from, Tschashm-e-Del was presumably recorded in the ‘60s (certainly pre-revolution) and quite possibly broadcast on Radio Tehran. Now restored from the original reels, it reveals a gorgeous and important suite of music set to a Ghazal – an ancient Arabic ode, or poetic expression of the pain and beauty of love, loss or separation – written by Hatef Esfehani, who was a famous Iranian poet of the 18th century.
The ghazal deals with the founding principles of Sufism and monotheism through a love story between Hatef and a Christian girl, with Morteza Hannaneh’s musical arrangement matching the specific rhyming structure of its ancient classical form, itself rooted in tradition stretching back to at least the 10th century, whilst also incorporating string elements of western orchestration relating to Hannaneh’s background in composing for cinema.
It’s the kind of music you might expect to turn up on a Folkways or Dead-Cert release and has expanded our musical horizons, drawing parallels with everything from that magical Dariush Dolat-Shahi Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar album, to Daphne Oram’s own radio play work. It has a strangely eerie quality, in part due to the worn and weathered recording, but also perhaps due to the fact it captures a place in time that’s long since faded into our collective memory…