Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two Love Poems in Persian by Payman Akhlaghi

and
Two Poems in Persian by Payman Akhlaghi

‏دو شعر به زبان فارسی از
 پیمان اخلاقی

Please click on the titles to read the poems in full on Scribd.Thank you.
برای خواندن مطالب روی تیتر اشعار کلیک کنید.
هر شعر تنها شامل یک صفحه است و در تصاویر سمت راست و چپ این پست نیز قابل رؤیت هستند.

I just published two of my poems in Persian as a preview of several songs in progress. The lyrics in full are available to read for free on Scribd. I hope my Persian-speaking audience enjoys the words, while some day soon, everyone could enjoy the music, as well, regardless of the language. Let me know if you are interested in an English translation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Film News: Black Swan (2010)

Ever since his very first feature, the 1998 BW indie "Pi", Darren Aronofsky has established himself as one of the most daringly original, if not always satisfying, art-film directors of his generation. What followed next -- "Requiem for a Dream", "The Fountain", and "The Wrestler" --proved that not even the director's penchant for dissonant visual formalism, and abstract mystical themes, would stop the likes of Jennifer Connelly, Ellen Burstyn, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Mickey Rourke or Marisa Tomei, from lending their box office appeal to his visions.

This time, it's Natalie Portman's turn, who has reportedly played the role of a ballerina, in the soon to be released "Black Swan."  Opening this summer's Venice Film Festival should thus come as no surprise.this

Payman Akhlaghi
First published on FB
7/25/2010
(*) Revision 04.29.2014: The spelling of Mr. Aronofsky's name, originally misspelled as Aronovsky, was corrected.

Films: Four Snippets on Inception, Love, Grass & Sorcerers

© 2010, All text by Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

Christopher Nolan's "Inception" (2010) is a masterpice of form, concept and design. It's an impressive display of visual and narrative complexities, even as it childishly fails in offering any social, philosophical or psychological substance. I particularly enjoyed several animated Escherian structures, the more or less consistent logic of the script, the stylish mis-en-scène and frame compositions, the excellent cinematography and camera movements, the expressive SFX, and the tightly calculated edit of the film. The skillful cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, and including Marion Cotillard, Joseph Godron-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and the very intelligent Ellen Page, have all imbued their characters with as much humanity as the script would have allowed. Only if Ken Watanabe had worked more on his English enunciation, computer games had not permeated the vision of the director, and the music were not so disappointingly shallow yet pretentious.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Original Drawing: Aspire MMX01b

Aspire MMX01 v01b
 "Aspire MMX01 v01b"

eDrawing by
Payman Akhlaghi

July 27th, 2010
Los Angeles

Please click on the picture to see
more of Payman's artwork.

© 2010, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bruce Sutherland: A Legend of the Piano World

Bruce Sutherland (*) is one of the most distinguished of all American classical piano teachers. His pedagogical lineage could be traced back to Beethoven, via Theodor Leschetizky and Carl Czerny. His students, young and adult, are frequent prize winners in national and international competitions. Despite his unique knowledge, fame and expertise, Bruce is one of the most soft-spoken people you could ever meet. I was fortunate enough to study with him for the summer of 1996, at his Santa Monica studio. This was a brief, yet instrumental period in my education as a performer.

(*) Update: Sadly, Mr. Bruce Sutherland passed away early September 2010, shortly after this post had appeared. You may find a link a touching eulogy by Max Levnison at the end of the note. Bruce Sutherland was born on February 26, 1926, and he passed away on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, in Santa Monica, California. Here's a Tribute Page dedicated to him. -- Payman A.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Original Drawing: Alternate World MMX01e

PA Alternate World MMX01e
"Alternate World MMX01e"
By Payman Akhlaghi

This is the latest in a series of hand-drawn abstract artworks by Payman Akhlaghi. The series began in early 1990's as a sidetrack to my musical output, and it has continued to date to provide me with personal joy and emotional relief.

The original work was drawn using only a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker, on an 8.5x11 size white paper. The scanned picture was then modified into a high-contrast BW JPG file.

© 2010, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Music Review: Robert Shaw, "Symphony of Psalms"

Remembering a Legend



The American conductor Robert Shaw is likely to remain the standard by whom all other choral conductors will be measured. In this video, he conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the first movement of Stravinksy's "Symphony of Psalms". Notice how effortlessly he guides the massive force before him, how well coordinated the uniformly dressed chorus acts -- even when turning pages -- how clear his cues are, and how musical and comprehensible this difficult piece sounds under his baton.

This is indeed America at its best...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Film Review: Toy Story 3 (3D)

© Copyright 2010: All text by Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

"Toy Story 3: 3D" is a visual, narrative, vocal and musical marvel of a film -- a delightful work of art and entertainment. Preceded by a most creative short, "Day and Night", the Pixar team has proved once more that an unprecedented attention to detail doesn't have to cost the film its structural arc. In short, it's a masterpiece.

It's a tale of child-plays come to life, with the characters' diverse psychology and behavioral traits decided by each toy's individual morphology, and some aspects of its stereotype. The contrast between the human and toy perspectives, and the interaction of the two worlds, are maintained throughout with consistency. The music is a highly accomplished blend of score and songs, mostly composed, conducted, and even sometimes performed effortlessly, by Randy Newman.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Films: Four Snippets on Eclipse, Sex, Igor and Mahler...

© Copyright 2010: All text by Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

Happily, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (2010) has the tightest script & edit of the series so far, even as it often lacks the touching sincerity and the throbbing teen-heart of the first two installments. The cinematography, SFX and action scenes are superb -- and the gifted Kristen Stewart has only got even better. A big disappointment, however, comes from the Oscar-winning Howard Shore. His music bears little marks of decaces-long experience, filled with such successful scores as Silence of the Lambs, Lord of the Rings, Cop Land, or Panic Room. Pro bono? Tired? Ghost-composer?! Alexander Desplat (New Moon) might better be back for the next 2 planned chapters...

(Payman Akhlaghi, July 2010, on FB)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Life's Full of Wonders...

One hopeless evening, living alone, far away from home, and pressed by poverty, he went to the bathroom, tied his belt to a high hook, and wrapped its free side around his neck. He was barely 21. The belt tore apart under his weight. He fell to the ground. He lied there, right where he had fallen, and broke into bitter tears. Then he found his way to his instrument, pulled himself together, cried his heart out, and never looked back. He went on to live one of the longest and most fulfilled lives one could have ever wished for.

His name was Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982).

"Let me say only that in this chaos of thoughts I discovered the secret of happiness and I still cherish it: Love life for better or for worse, without conditions." (My Young Years, 1973)