Saturday, February 23, 2013

Purim: The Intersection of Judaism, Persian History, Life, and Our Everlasting Love of Fables and Drama (2013), By Payman Akhlaghi


Clouds for Purim
Digitally Modified Version of
Original Photo by Payaman Akhlaghi
© 2010, 2013, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved. 
Purim: The Intersection of Judaism, Persian History,
Life, and Our Everlasting Love of Fables and Drama (2013)

A Short Note by: Payman Akhlaghi
Firs published at www.Facebook.com/PAComposer

Purim is an archetypal narrative of hope versus despair, authenticity vs. hypocrisy, free will vs. destiny, certainty vs. uncertainty, chance vs. determinism, progress vs. regression, the future vs. the past, life vs. dogma, sanity vs. insanity, fair play vs. manipulation.

Through an arduous interplay of love, hatred, prejudice, intelligence, lust, frustration, contempt, conspiracy, ignorance, desire, justice, jealousy, loyalty, revenge, despotic whims, greed, compassion, self-preservation, and rare social mobility, the high and the low echelons of power interact and confluence the course of events, against the backdrop of frozen social strata.

As it is, Purim stands at the intersection of Judaism, ancient Persian history, minority rights, feminist discourse, life and passion, and often age-defying costumes, but above all, our everlasting love of fables and a nice feel-good piece of drama.

Happy Purim, everyone...

© 2013, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.
Photo: © 2010, 2013, Payman Akhlaghi. Digitally modified.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Our Sonata, Our Fugue", Poem in English by Payman Akhlaghi (2013)

Aspire MMX01c
by Payman Akhlaghi

"Our Sonata, Our Fugue" (2013)
A Poem by Payman Akhlaghi (First Draft)
First published on www.Facebook.com/PAComposer

The counterpoint of our words,
Our actions, our hands,
Our lips, our melodies,
Overlapping, intertwined,
Mine and yours,
In step, in conflict,
Dense, thin,
Rising, falling,
In harmony, in contrast,
Consonant, dissonant,
Convergent, divergent,
Caressing, clashing...

The drama we play, as we write.
The duet we sing, as we compose.
A sonata improvised, whose coda,
Contingent, may never be known.
A forest unraveling, dancing, whipping,
Fluttering, twisting, shielding, growing,
Desiring the heart of the sky.

Together, we weave and we walk
That tapestry which extends
As far as the horizon,
The unending fugue of a life,
Mine and yours, which remains
Always in progress...

Text: © 2013, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.
Photo: "Aspire MMX01b". © 2010, Payman Akhlaghi.
All rights reserved.

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist and piano teacher based in Los Angeles. His repertoire covers Classical music, as well as Persian (Iranian) Music, Pop Music, and Film Music. For information on the lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Encino, Brentwood, etc. please call: 310-208-2927. Thank you.

Hamlet, English Translation (2013) by Payman Akhlaghi of Poem in Persian (1969) by Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000)

"Hamlet"
Poem in Persian (1969)
By Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000)
English Translation (2013)
By Payman Akhlaghi
Photos:
Laurence Olivier, Ahmad Shamlou

Hamlet (1969)
Poem in Persian
By Ahmad Shamlou (1925-2000)

Original English Adaptation
By Payman Akhlaghi (2013)
(First Draft, Published at www.Facebook.com/PAComposer)
هملت، شعر از احمد شاملو، برگردان انگلیسی از پیمان اخلاقی

To be
Or not to be...

That is not the question,
But it's the temptation.

Poisoned wine in the cup,
And the poison-quenched sword,
In the hands of the enemy --
Everything's planned and clear
Beforehand,
And the curtain shall fall
At the known moment.

As if my father had slept
In the garden of Gethsemane,
So that my role turned into
The heritage of his deceiving trust,
And his bed of deception became
The pleasure chamber
Of my uncle!
[I realized these
All of a sudden,
In a chance glance
At the audience.]

Only if trust, like another Satan,
Had not put to sleep this other Abel,
In another Gethsemane,
With a lullaby, whilst ignorant of the affairs,
Oh, God,
Oh, God!

But what a deception,
What a deception!
That the one watching through
The transluscent curtain of darkness
Knows of the whole catastrophe
And recognizes my tragedy
Word by word, letter by letter,
In advance.

Beyond the transluscent curtain of darkness,
The eyes have paid silver and gold coins
For a chance to watch the sight of my pain,
To enjoy the free design of crying tears
In the interrupted voice and breath
Of the one who pretentiously
Looks upon the truth
With suspicion.

What help could I ask of them,
When at the end, they'd require
Both me and my uncle, equally,
To bow before them,
Even though my pain will have called upon them that
Henceforth, Claudius would not be an uncle's name,
But a general concept, a common name.

And the curtain,
At the sealed moment...

And yet,
Since the time when the truth was revealed
To me, as a restless, wandering ghost,
And the stench of the world
Irritated my nostrils
Like the smoke of a torch in fake scenes,
This is not a question, nor a debate,
But a temptation:

To be
Or 
Not to be.

- Ahmad Shamlou, 1969, Iran
- English Adaptation by Payman Akhlaghi (2013, Los Angeles)
© 2013, English translation by Payman Akhalghi.
© All rights reserved for pertinent parties.

(*) The original Persian text may be viewed below, or at the following site: Hamlet, Original Persian
هملت، شعر از احمد شاملو، برگردان انگلیسی از پیمان اخلاقی

(*) Thanks to my erudite friend, Dr. Scott Giles, I was introduced to a poem of the same title by the Russian poet, Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), which may be read Here and Here . The similarities are too many to be dismissed as a mere coincidence; yet the two works stand independent enough in relation to each other, and to the original Shakespeare and theatrical experience described therein, to consider the Shamlou a mere possible adaptation of his Russian colleague's earlier work. In the absence of proper documentation in my source(s), I may safely allow that the Shamlou might have been exposed to the Pasternak, then re-lived it, and came up with his extended variation.

Similarities observed include: the separation of the Character, i.e. the spectator and narrator of the poems, from the actor playing the role; Biblical references, such as Abba, "Father", which identifies Hamlet with Jesus in the Pasternak; while Gethsemane, the garden where the Last Supper takes place, identifies Hamlet's father with Abel, and not Jesus (a difference by error, or a deliberate play with the myths?); the theme of predestined fate, and the deliberate attempt to liberate us the reader from it; the despising look at life's facade, follies and hypocrisy; the presence of the audience. -- Payman Akhlaghi

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist and piano teacher based in Los Angeles. His repertoire covers Classical music, as well as Persian (Iranian) Music, Pop Music, and Film Music. For information on the lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Encino, Brentwood, etc. please call: 310-208-2927. Thank you.

(*) The Persian text of poem Hamlet, from Shamlou's Official Website:
(*) برای متن فارسی شعر "هملت" برگرفته از صفحۀ اصلی احمد شاملو در پایین: