Sunday, January 29, 2012

Musical Culture & Asymmetry of Information in Free Market Systems: Protective Intervention on Behalf of Minority Arts, by Payman Akhlaghi (2004, UCLA)

Charles Dutoit Conducting
LA Philharmonic
Free Market Systems
A Case for Protective Intervention on Behalf of Minority Arts

Author: Payman Akhlaghi (2004)

Graduate Paper Toward Degree of PhD in Composition
(English, 20 Pages, 2004, UCLA)
Advisor: Prof. Robert Fink

(*) Please note that this version consists of the content of the paper at the time of submision. Hence, this version does not reflect the advising professor’s final valuable comments and valid criticisms. – P.A., 2012

"Is the market always right? Should the fate of culture in general, and music in ‎particular, be fully entrusted to the unchecked trends and decisions of a free market ‎system? Are sales ratings reliable indicators of the real value of musical artifacts or the ‎underlying cultural orientation of the society? Would the preferences of today’s ‎audiences amongst modern sonorities ‎ still be the same, had they been informed ‎differently?‎ [...] The present paper tries to offer a perspective on such issues, by relying primarily ‎on the notion of imperfect or ‘asymmetrical’ information in [free]-market systems, a ‎concept that was first developed in the 1960’s and 70’s America, and which eventually ‎garnered its three pioneers, Joseph E. Stiglitz, George A. Akerlof and A. Michael Spence, ‎the 2001 Nobel prize in economics. By referring to this notion, the author will attempt to ‎explain how it is that the artist in a free-market society, which is an ostensibly ideal ‎environment for the flourishing of his or her creative potential, can still maintain the need ‎for some level of intervention, preferably by democratically elected, qualified institutions, ‎rather than the private sector, in order to preserve the integrity of the collective or ‎individual artistic output, as well as the artistic experience of the audiences. My line of ‎thought recognizes Theodor Adorno’s major contribution, Culture Industry Reconsidered ‎‎(Adorno, 1963), [...]" Please click here to read the full paper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Evolution of Keyboard Prelude from Bach to Shostakovich, Graduate Analytical Paper by Payman Akhlaghi (2004, UCLA)

The Evolution of Keyboard Prelude from Bach to ShostakovichA Brief Discussion
Author: Payman Akhlaghi (2004)

Graduate Analytical Paper Toward Degree of PhD in Composition
Essay in English, 45 Pages, 2004, UCLA

Consulting Professor: Ian Krouse

Free to Read, Download and Print at Scribd

This paper traces the evolution of the genre of Prelude by ‎examining selected compositions from representatie ‎composers of each period, from Bach to Shostakovich. The ‎study tries to establish the validity of an evolutional axis in ‎the history of prelude as a genre, which it sees to be passing ‎through the works of Bach, Chopin and Debussy, with each ‎figure defining the genre on his own term and influencing the ‎succeding generations of prelude composers. Considering the ‎didactic dimension of prelude and its relation to the genre of ‎Etude, a short discussion of the latter is also included when ‎appropriate, as in the case of Chopin. A review of shorter ‎works by Bach’s contemporaries are included in Appendix 1.‎"

Composers discussed include: Bach, Cramer, Beethoven, Czerny, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Gershwin, Gorecki, Corelli, Pachelbel, etc. Works discussed  included WTC I and II (Bach), Chopin's Op. 28 Preludes, etc.

تاریخچه ای از تحول پرلود پیانو از باخ تا شوستاکوویچ
مقالۀ تحقیقی به قلم پیمان اخلاقی
به هدف دکترای آهنگسازی
به زبان انگلیسی، 45 صفحه، 2004، یو سی ال ای

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a Los Angeles based composer, pianist, and piano instructor. His repertoire extends over Classical, Pop and Film music, as well as Persian music (Iranian) and Jewish music. His lessons cover the Greater Los Angeles area, including the Westside, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Westwood, Beverlywood, Encino, etc.
For more information, please call 310-208-2927.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brahms & "Edward": Asymmetry & Performance Issues in Ballade in D minor, Op. 10, No.1, Graduate Analytical Paper by Payman Akhlaghi (2000)

Brahms & "Edward": Asymmetry and Performance Issues in Brahms’ "Ballade in Dm, Op. 10, No.1" 

Also Includes Two Brief Discussions of
"Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, No. 2" &
"Rhapsodie in E-flat Major, Op. 119, No. 4"

Author: Payman Akhlaghi (2000, UCLA)
Graduate Academic Paper Toward Degree of PhD in Composition (27 Pages, English)

Supervising Professor: Robert Winter (Music 261E)

(*) Please note that this essay was formatted at the time as a basic HTML text for maximum accuracy on an older online database sharing system. Thank you. (Author)

"[...] Section Three: The Extra-musical Origins of Asymmetry in the ‎Music of Brahms

Especially the Intermezzo affords us with the opportunity to ask if one can account ‎for the origins of such irregularities not merely on purely musical grounds. ‎

There are many reasons for such reflections. At any given period, each artistic field ‎might resist changes in some of its parameters, while promoting progress and variety in ‎the others. Music of the first half of the nineteenth century, for example, was relatively ‎explorative in terms of its harmonic language, some aspects of its formal aspirations, and ‎its timbral ambitions. Nevertheless, it had developed a resistance toward a change in its ‎underlying binary design, which manifested itself in the widespread acceptance of the ‎Sonata form (ABA in essence) and the generally even number of phrase elements. Even ‎the meter too had stayed frozen in either 2 or 3 meters, with extremely rare exceptions.. [...]" Please read, download or print the article Here.

Short Independent Film Review: A Separation (2011), جدایی نادر از سیمین, by Payman Akhlaghi

A Separation (جدایی نادر از سیمین، 2011, ca 123 mins, Persian)
Written & Directed by Asghar Farhadi
With Leila Hatami & Peyman Ma'adi.
End title music: Sattar Oraki
Reviewed by Payman Akhlaghi

By now, this has been a much reviewed and well received film. It's an artfilm without the pretense, a commercially successful neo-realistic work coming from Iran, with true roots in, and a genuine understanding of, its modern culture at large. It's full of sentiments, yet decidedly not sentimental. The script flows like a quiet and unceasing brook, with a dramatic curve that almost never loses its momentum. Notwithstanding the excellent work of the adult performers, the epilogue leaves you with one of the most moving cinematic moments ever solicited from a child actor. Patient, heartfelt, confident, the film captures the humanity of its characters at every turn, with a fitting camera work and an equally integrated editing style. If nominated, it could very well garner the first Oscar for an Iranian film. I'm pleased that this moving picture was the first Iranian film I saw in a relatively long time. This review first appeared on Payman's Facebook Page.

I find it noteworthy that Simin, the protagonist of "A Separation", when leaving her husband and daughter behind, doesn't ask for anything to take with her -- no shoes, no jewelry, no books, no tv's -- except for one thing: a CD of [Mohammad Reza] Shajarian's music. This is a significant homage paid by the younger generation of Iranian artists to this acknowledged master of Persian traditional music. Here's a sample of Mr. Shajarian's work.

Cast includes Leila Hatami, Peyman Ma'adi, Sareh Bayat, Sarnia Farhadi (Termeh), A.A. Shahbazi, S. Hosseini, Merila Zare'i, et al. Full cast and crew can be found at IMDB.

(*) Update: "...I think they are a truly peace-loving people." -- Asghar Farhadi, director of A Separation, speaking of Iranians, as he received the Golden Globe 2012 for Best Foreign Language Film, Sunday Jaunary 15th, 2012. The film was up against 4 other films, including the much discussed, impressive Almodovar masterpiece, The Skin I Live In. This was a tough contest, and the film earned the Globe with every breath, with every frame. Oscars could well be within its reach. Congratulations to the team & to the artistic community of Iran at large. - P.A.

(*) Update: On February the 26th, A Separation was awarded an Oscar for The Best Foreign Film.

© 2011, 2012, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Short Film Review: War Horse (2011), Spielberg's Poetic Commentary Against War and Destruction, Review by Payman Akhlaghi

War Horse (2011)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Music by John Williams
146 mins, English
Original Review by Payman Akhlaghi

In many ways, "War Horse" is Spielberg's very personal and intimate sequel to "Saving Private Ryan" -- intimate, that is, by this director's standards. This has been clearly more than the simple story of an exceptional horse taken to the war front, who ends up trapped in a "no man's land"; or the suspense of whether he'd survive this unfair ordeal and return to the young man who had raised him. (No spoilers here.) It isn't a film about WWI in particular, either, despite the many specific historical and geographic contexts of the narrative. Instead, by underscoring the anthropomorphic aspects of the equine hero, and by establishing the humane bond between him and his young owner, the torments imposed on this innocent being have transcended well into the timeless zone of a poetic commentary on war and destruction. This is further heightened by many direct references to the humanity of the characters, beyond the common stereotypes of good vs. evil, including a significant scene of fraternization between enemy soldiers, which has in fact roots in the actual history of that war.