Cautiously contemporary

Cautiously contemporary
On the first day of marathon of performances in the Fourth Tehran Contemporary Music Festival
by Mani Jafarzadeh

Contemporary music has a limited audience but this small number can’t even reach an agreement on their subject of passion; So far that they won’t reach a decisive common understanding on “What is the contemporary music?” This makes performing for such complicated audience a very trying task.
This difficulty presented itself in the first day of this “marathon” of performances, to the point that some of the more “radical” experts didn’t recognize certain performances as “contemporary” in their view and described certain manners of performance as old or classic.
I, in contrary, don’t consider the contemporary music as a movement “fashionable” in music “festivals” around the world; but as a part of History of Art which began after the world war II that continues to present. As such, approaches of the young composers and performers were far more important than which “extended techniques” or “new extended techniques” they use that are “fashionable” today. These “techniques”, in my understanding, are parts of a bigger whole that now, gradually, begins to find its meaning in the Iranian artist’s mind. So, their importance is secondary.
What caught my attention was the rational take of the younger generation. We know that the main problem of Iranian music is inadequate skill in performance of international instruments. Here, young composers confronted this issue with a considerable intelligence and wrote pieces to be performable by this generation of performers. Musicians too, tried their best to execute the written pieces correctly and clearly; and succeeded too.
We should keep in mind that it’s been a long time that the unreasonable expectations of performance repertoire have moved the contemporary music to the point that it is seriously hard to go through a “concert”. Poor audiences think this torture is part of this music’s nature. But any kind of music, performed correctly, is interesting and enjoyable.
First day’s marathon was clear, coherent and interesting collection which was resulted from a smart, attentive and cautious approach to “being contemporary”. You might object that being contemporary does not go well with cautious. To this, dear reader, I should answer this: where we stand today, everything should be in line with cautious and attentiveness (which are inseparable parts of Iranian culture) otherwise they would be fundamentally incoherent.
First day of “Tehran contemporary music festival” was a successful day.

This review is written for The Fourth Tehran Contemporary Music Festival. All rights reserved for